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, July 20

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A folking good time

The line-up for this year's Old Town School Folk & Roots Festival has been announced. Headlining this year's main stage schedule are Los Amigos Invisibles, The Holmes Brothers and The Subdudes. Even if folk and/or roots isn't your thing, the festivities include lots of other activities -- for the dancer in you and the kids you take with you. Old Town staff will even have a stage of their own. The festival runs all day, July 10 and 11, in Lincoln Square's Welles Park.

Mac designers, unite

From the editors of Mac Design Magazine comes this week's Mac Design Conference & Expo, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The second-year event describes itself as "three amazing days of hard-core, Mac-only training in Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Illustrator, QuarkXPress, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, After Effects, Mac OS X, and more." Don't know if this event is for you? Photos like this should turn you all atwitter. It runs June 2-4; pre-registration is closed, but you can still buy admission at the door.

They call him MISTER Leather.

Congratulations go out to Jason Hendrix from Washington DC, who won the 2004 International Mr. Leather competition this weekend. Congrats also to Alan Tunstall of LA, who won the International Mr. Bootblack title. Pictures, of course, are available.

Chicago anti-war protest visits other cities

You may remember last January's display in Federal Plaza of about 500 pairs of combat boots, each one representing a soldier killed in Iraq. In the last week, that exhibit has moved to other cities such as Washington DC and Youngstown, Ohio. Regrettably, the exhibit has grown in number to 803 pairs of boots.

Brutally Honest Personals

Esquire is looking for more Brutally Honest Personal ads. Describe yourself "without euphemisms or exaggerations or any truth-hedging." Need a date? Secure in your flaws? Apply now. [Via Craig's List]

Ex-Chicagoans, Unite!

We know a lot of our readers aren't actually in the city -- we get visitors from as far away as New Zealand and Singapore. It turns out there's a Meetup group just for you. The ex-Chicagoans Meetup happened last night around the world (well, the country anyway); the next one is June 24. Why not get connected and share a pop with an ex-pat soon?

Voters not happy with new casino idea

Bad news for Da Mare's plan for a Chicago casino: only 56% of Illinois voters are against creating a new casino in the state, according to a Tribune/WGN poll. However, opinion from Chicago voters on the matter is just about evenly split, so residents may not yet be ready to completely reject the idea. (City officials might wish to work on the idea carefully, however: 31% of voters said they would vote against legislators who favor casino gambling in Illinois.)

Leathered Up

If you see a group of men in black leather and assless chaps this weekend whilst strolling the Boule Mich, don't be alarmed: it's just folks in for the 26th annual International Mr. Leather contest and convention, held every Memorial Day Weekend in our fair city. (Sorry ladies, it's just for men: IML's sister contest , IMsL, is unfortunately held in Omaha.)

Chris Silva

Chris Silva has an impressive body of worked based in the urban graf style. Complex, dirty, intricate designs are worked into existing cityscapes to provide one with some kind of enlightenment or message from the day to day drudgery. Take a look at the murals, mosaics and public art works or go through the entire body of work (there is a lot - yay!). Perfect for a slow sunny Friday.

City sticker price rises for SUVs

After getting hit with high gas prices over the past few weeks, SUV owners will have another higher price to deal with this year: an increase in their city sticker fees. 43 models of SUVs that weight more than 4,500 pounds will have to shell out $90 for a sticker, up from $75. The complete list of vehicles that will have increased sticker prices is up at the City Clerk's Website. Time to switch to a bike, perhaps?

Story of the Oriental Institute

Tune in tonight to WTTW Channel 11 to see "Breaking Ground: The Story of the Oriental Institute." The hour-long program airs at 9pm and provides an in-depth look at the history of this unique Chicago institution. Then, tomorrow night, the Chicago Stories program on PBS presents "Pioneer to the Past: The Life and Times of James Henry Breasted," the founder of the Oriental Institute. For more information on both of these programs, see the official press release.

$18,000 measuring cup?

The Chicago Department of Consumer Services unveiled today an $18,000 measuring device that can accuately measure the amount of gas delivered by a station pump. This device can be used by city workers to measure the accuracy of gas station equipment, and cite station owners if they're short-changing customers. (For the record, department spokesmen say that Chicago stations overall are giving out a bit more gas than is paid for.)

An Important Resource for People Who Eat Food

Chicago Magazine's Morsels column points us to Savoring Chicago, a bimonthly newsletter reviewing the best food stores in the city. Judging by the excerpts, it's definitely a good resource for all foodies looking for that elusive ingredient or new delectable delight.

City Babe

Here's a slightly different gift for your friend's toddler: the Tot Cot, his or her own little sleeping bag for nursery schoo, from Urban Infant. Aww. (Thanks, Heather)

City Snob Radio Report

Have you ever felt like you've really been missing out on what's going on in the suburbs? Expect on Tuesday that FM103.9 is going to switch from a Spanish-language format to "Jammin' Oldies", or "rhythmic oldies". Name of the station: Y-103.9: The Beat of the Burbs. (I really hope this isn't their website...)

Pop Vs. Soda

Ah, the old pop vs. soda debate. Wanna see how it breaks down across the nation? Here's how Illinois looks. [ via the Big C ]

Strawberries & More

Did you know strawberries are a member of the rose family? Find out more fun facts about strawberries at Strawberries & More from the University of Illinois Extension. The site also includes information on selection and care of strawberries, tips for growing your own, strawberry recipes, and links to local farms where you can pick your own.

Core77 Offsite

The design and resource magazine Core77 is having an event this evening called appropriately "Offsite". It features Mark Palmer and Russ Branaghan, both user interface and usabiltity professionals for Motorola and Big Red Rooster respectively. "Motorola and Big Red Rooster are working together to create a new product development process that more effectively harnesses the power of true collaboration-between designers, engineers, social science, and most importantly, users." There will be a cocktail reception post presentation. It will be at the Illinois Institute of Technology from 6-9pm. You'll have to RSVP.

Irish Fest

Want a Gaelic-tinged Memorial Day weekend? Head down to the Irish Fest at Gaelic Park in Oak Forest. The Fest begins Friday afternoon and concludes Monday night. Enjoy musical acts like the Shannon Rovers and Black 47, Irish dancing, food, rides, and more. Tickets are $12.

Free at last

Our state this week exonerated its 18th former Death Row inmate. That's 18 exonerations and 12 executions since 1989, a mind-numbing 60 percent failure rate. The Tribune's Eric Zorn has written about Randy Steidl since 1998, and Northwestern professor David Protess sicced his students on the case in 1999.

Get your kickball on

The World Adult Kickball Association has just started up its 2004 season. Chicago games will be on Tuesday or Wednesday nights at Chase Park (4725 N. Ashland); registration is still open.

Wal-Mart coming to Chicago

It's official: the City Council has approved zoning changes for a Wal-Mart store on the West Side. Update: the Trib reports that the South Side store didn't have enough votes to pass.

Obit: David Dellinger

David Dellinger, one of the famed Chicago Seven who were put on trial in 1969 and 1970 for their part in the antiwar protests during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, died on Tuesday at the age of 88. Even at his advanced age, Dellinger was still interested in politics. In 2001, he hitched a ride from his home in Vermont to demonstrations in Quebec City to protest the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Itchy Ritchy

Please, please, write a caption for this photo of Mayor Daley. It seems like he's scratching himself under the podium, but maybe that's just me.

Become an Outdoors-Woman!

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources sponsors weekends for women who want to get away from it all and go out for a weekend of camping and outdoor activities. Events can include bird calling, archery, target shooting, fishing, canoeing, and more. The next weekend trip is June 11-13 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, IL. Visit the Department of Natural Resources website for registration forms and more information.

In the shadow of Hancock the lovers embraced...

Admit it: you love romance novels. There's a box of Harlequins in your closet, and you pick up a new Regency Romance every Wednesday in the lobby bookstore. Well, as long as you're reading that stuff, you might as well read local. The Windy City chapter of the Romance Writers of America provides a convenient list of local amateur and professional authors for you to look for.

Changes in Loop Lunches

One company decides Chicago is key to its success, while another decides to leave the market altogether. Cosi is moving its headquarters to Chicago from New York this fall; the move will save $1.85 million in cash annually, the company said. Unfortunately for Briazz, things aren't going so well. Briazz Inc. has shut down its eight stores in Chicago, the only market away from the West Coast in which the lunch-cafe chain operates.

No Sash or No Service

Cardinal George has ordered area priests not to give communion to anyone wearing a rainbow sash this Sunday. The sashes are a form of protest against the treatment of gays in the church. Members of the Rainbow Sash Movement say they will go up for communion anyway.

See More Phish/We Have No Phish

In the wake of today's news that (for real) the jam band Phish is breaking up at the end of the summer, some folks in Illinois might be scrambling to see the group live one last time. Seems the only chance you'll get in the Chicago-area is on the big screen, on June 17, when Phish will be performing a simulcast show of their concert on Coney Island, N.Y. which will be broadcast live into select Regal, Edwards, and United Artists theaters across the country. Tickets go on sale online and at participating box offices on Friday at 11 a.m. (And, dude, this time, no tapers allowed.)

Harper's Oldest Rumor Renewed

As long as I can remember, I've heard rumors that William Rainey Harper (Community) College was going to go four-year. "They just have to build dorms and they can do it." Yeah, right. Well, it turns out the rumors aren't so far off: Harper's board of trustees will be debating adding bachelor degrees in some fields at a meeting tonight.

Sing the Body Electric

Body Electric is a student-edited literary journal presenting work by the students, faculty and staff of UIC's College of Medicine, "based on the experiences of medical education and practice." Although the College of Medicine's website says the journal is still published annually, the online version hasn't been updated in five years, so while you're perusing the fifteen years' worth of material that's there you can experience the height of web design like it's 1999.

Evanston Bicycle Auction

A bit early, but might be worth it to ya: The Evanston Police are having a bicycle auction to rid the department of the bikes that are "unclaimed property". It's a good chance to find a good deal or pick up that second commuter bike you've been dreaming about for the summer.

The Crash of Flight 191

Every time we drive down Touhy, my mother points out the grassy field near O'Hare Airport that marks the site of the crash of American Airlines Flight 191. Today marks the 25th anniversary of the tragedy that killed all 273 people aboard -- still the deadliest accident in U.S. aviation history.

Flash Flood Fact Sheet

With so many storms and flash floods in the area, the Chicago chapter of the American Red Cross has posted some great information about what to do, and what not to do on the roads during a flash flood, and how to reduce potential damage to your home. You can also make donations to the Red Cross and volunteer to help out folks in Des Plains and Gurnee who haven't seen the end to their flooding problems.

Gay Games Update

The Advocate reports that the organizers of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago will launch a new Website,, on Friday. The site's up already (although registration for the games doesn't start until June), so you can peruse the list of upcoming events (mostly fundraising and volunteer meetings for now) and information for people who would like to volunteer.

Fishing and Hunting

Past the 1993-stylin' splash page is a wealth of information about fishing and hunting in good ol' Chicago and Illinois at Chitown-Angler. There are topics about fishing in Lake Michigan, the rivers, the smaller lakes and the forests. There's information about where to get a licence and also an illuminating hunting quick reference guide. Groundhogs beware: there's no limit as to how many can be hunted.

Help Solve a Murder Mystery

A year ago yesterday, aspiring actor Barry Cunnane was shot dead by a stranger while walking home in Ravenswood. The murderer was never caught. Now the Friends of Barry Cunnane are offering a $15,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction. Check the site for more details.

Chicago Repeats as favorite MLB city

As reported last year, Chicago is MLB's favorite place to play. This year, again polled 95 players representing the 30 teams on their favorite road city. The winner? Chicago, with 35 votes. Second was New York City with 15 votes. Food, shopping, nightlife, cleanliness --- it all adds up to My Kind of Town.

Deadline for Sun-Times building

The L.A. Times crashes a Chicago Daily News reunion where staffers rhapsodize about the Sun-Times building, which is slated to be demolished this fall to make room for a Donald Trump tower. The sentiments echo thoughts expressed by Chicago Magazine's Steve Rhodes this winter: "Ugly buildings can be important places, too." In September the Sun-Times will move down the river to a building near Merchandise Mart.

Save CCH, stat!

The National Trust for Historical Preservation today named Cook County Hospital to its list of America's 11 most endangered historic places for 2004, joining the Madison-Lenox Hotel in Detroit, the entire Wal-Mart besieged state of Vermont, and 8 other sites. Cook County Hospital already had among its defenders Preservation Chicago and The Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.

Obit: journalist Vernon Jarrett

About a week after veteran Chicago anchorman Floyd Kalber died, veteran journalist Vernon Jarrett died on Sunday. Jarrett worked in TV, in radio and for three separate Chicago newspapers, but he was most proud of his work with young people, particularly the annual intellectual competition he founded for African-American high school students, ACT-SO.

Protest The Wal

As has already been mentioned here, tomorrow the city council is going to vote on whether or not Chicago should change its zoning laws to allow a Wal-Mart. One of the proposed sites on the South Side is close to the Trinity United Church of Christ, and the pastor there is not pleased about the possibility of a Wal-Mart in his community. In addition to putting an anti-Wal-Mart piece in the bulletin (pg 6), he's also organizing a demonstration against Wal-Mart. Weds May 26th, 8am at Daley Plaza.

Billy Corgan gets a day job

Billy Corgan is now apparently the Chicago Cubs correspondent for WXRT. The radio station's programming veep, Norm Winer, says Corgan will provide analysis and commentary on the team's previous week performance and preview the upcoming week's game series. (Thanks to Chicagomuzik for the tip, and also for providing big laffs with the headline "This Is Not An Onion Article.")

Obama in New Yorker

The New Yorker's most recent "Fact" column isn't about Abu Ghraib - it's about Barack Obama. A good and detailed overview.

Coverage for Contraceptives

The Chicago Tribune reports that a bill making it's way through the Illinois legislature may allow organizations with "a moral objection to birth control" to ignore a state law requiring health insurance coverage for contraceptives for their employees.

Wal-Mart vote looms on Wednesday

If you've been keeping track of the attempts of Wal-Mart to get a store into Chicago, you'll want to keep an eye on the city council's meeting this Wednesday. They're prepared to vote on zoning changes to allow two Wal-Marts within city limits: one on the West Side, and one on the South Side. You might also be interested in this Tribune article, which describes the populist campaign Wal-Mart is waging to gather support for the stores.

We have a winner

Veteran Chicago actress Irma P. Hall was awarded the special jury prize at Cannes this weekend for her performance in the Coen brothers' The Ladykillers. She won in a tie with Apichatpong Weerasethakul, director of the first Thai film to compete at the festival. Hall was unable to attend as she continues to recover from a January car accident here.

The Other NRA

The 85th Annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is wrapping up this week at McCormick Place. The NRA show is an international gathering of more than 70,000 professionals from the foodservice and hospitality industries. News from this year's event includes a discussion of the increased presence of energy drinks in the market and the infiltration of video games and other entertainment in restaurants.

Not If But When

Brian Ulrich takes some pretty amazing photographs. His work primarily deals with "the excesses of a consumer-dominated culture," to great effect. Take a look at Not If But When, his portfolio site, or pop by his thesis show this Thursday, 5-8pm at the Glass Curtain Gallery, 1104 S. Wabash.

Destination: Manifest

As the latest class of Columbia students prepares to graduate, the college will be promoting their work during Thursday's all-day Manifest festival. There'll essentially be four festivals running in tandem -- art, music, performance and readings -- all spread out along the South Loop Arts Corridor, with free trolleys running between the five major locations. Among the myriad styles of art on display: photography, puppetry, pop, painting, product design, poetry, papermaking ... and dozens of others. All events are free and open to the public.

No cheese here

Monday morning dreariness not quite your flavour? Take some time out to peruse photos from local photographers: Citying, Jamas, Chicago Snapshot, Esotericus, Ferocious Cheese, Gigantic, Boochakanan, No Commercial Potential, Photovox and Six Feet Above. Keep your eyes busy for a while if your brain isn't quite up to it today.

Trading Spaces

Look out for the crew from Trading Spaces this week in Evanston, IL as they make over two Northwestern University sororities. Carpenter Ty Pennington was even on hand for the seventh-inning stretch at Friday's Cubs game.

Forever Free and Clear

Depave Lake Shore Drive? And Daley really supports it?

Mice on parade

You may notice some six-foot mice standing on State Street over the next couple of months, but don't worry: they're real. Fifteen Mickey Mouse statues have been placed on State Street, between Wacker Drive and Jackson. (Think a Disney-themed "Cows on Parade" exhibit.) The statues come from a larger collection of 75 that were created for Mickey's 75th birthday, and the exhibit will be moving to other cities over the next few months.

The Obama Show

The Sun-Times reports that US Senate candidate Barack Obama is being followed by a particularly persistent cameraman, whose job is to record every single second of Obama's appearances in public. The cameraman, not surprisingly, is employed by Obama's opponent, Republican Jack Ryan. A spokeman for Ryan's campaign says that they're just making sure Obama doesn't contradict himself in his public statements. And I'm sure that, if Ryan catches Obama in a misstatement, he will quietly and discreetly alert Obama's team to the error, without notifying any people in the news media or making a big deal about it. Update: Jack Ryan has apologized, and has ordered the cameraman to back off.


YahooMaps now offers the ability to search for WiFi hotspots (at least those using Intel's wireless technology). One question about the Chicago map, though: what's up with the shantytown listed at Erie and Fairbanks?

Art in the Streets

Josh MacPhee is a local stencil artist and documentarian of street art. He's just released a book, Stencil Pirates, looking into the history of stencil graffiti and including hundreds of examples of the art. MacPhee also runs justseeds, a "radical art and culture distribution system" for stencil art as well as books, posters, zines and other stuff. Check it out.

A look at Lincoln Park

Your GB Humorous Moment of the Day courtesy of Atomly: A critical view of Lincoln Park.

The Perfect Crime...Almost

Eighty years ago, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks just to see if they could get away with it. They thought it would be a perfect crime, but instead were quickly arrested and tried. Their defense attorney was none other than Clarence Darrow, of Scopes Monkey Trial fame. Today the Chicago Historical Society opens an exhibit on the murder and trial; the show runs through September.

Party Like it's 1999

The city has announced that when the Millennium Park finally does open on July 16, it will be celebrated with what some are referring to as an "entertainment orgy" lasting three days. Years late, and a good chunk of change over-budget, the Millennium Park will be the site of numerous of events including a (literal) three-ring circus, sunrise yoga and tai-chi, park tours, and a world-premier concert of new music by the Grant Park orchestra. For a cool interactive map, check this out.

Down with ol' pee-pee

Cubs left-fielder Moises Alou hit .400 this week with 3 home runs and 4 RBIs. How did he do it? Peeing on his hands to harden them may have helped. Apparently he's not alone in the practice. But Slate points out that urea is a common ingredient in skin moisturizers, and the fact that Alou has only 8 errors in his Cub career suggests very soft hands indeed.

Tsk, tsk

The cops have been cracking down on the Black Disciples. They've found all kinds of proof about how they're laundering their extensive amounts of money they're accused of getting by selling drugs. In the most recent bust, the cops found a letter from Chicago police to Alderwoman Troutman of the 20th ward. Of course they aren't saying what was in the letter, but it strikes me as suspicious.

Lizzadro Museum

We've been loving our suburbs recently, but when was the last time you visited the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Elmhurst? The museum, located at 220 Cottage Hill, is dedicated to sharing "the eternal beauty of gemstones and promoting the study of earth science." Check out the dioramas and the gold Castle Lizzadro. See their website for more information.

Edith Frost demos

Check out today's release over at the net label Comfort Stand Recordings: a collection of demo recordings by Chicago rock'n'roller (and blogger!) Edith Frost.

The Festival Season Begins

Are you ready for meat on a stick and beer in plastic cups? The summer neighborhood festival season kicks off this weekend with Lakeview Mayfest at Ashland and Barry, where you can catch the standard festival rock bands -- Underwater People, Aphrodesiacs, the imaginatively named Dave Matthews Cove Band -- and DePaul's FESTival:2004 on the Quadrangle, featuring the much more interesting lineup of Paulina, Lucky Boys Confusion, Tonic and Common. Need more help deciding? Mayfest is $5, but DePaul's shindig is free... until 6pm -- then you'll pay $10 for the concerts.

Project Citizen: Room 405

Those ambitious Fifth Graders we told you about last month, the ones who were pushing to get their school repaired? They're getting noticed: the class took the information packet they've developed to a Chicago Public School's Capital Improvement Program Open Hearing this week, and they've received word that Ralph Nader will visit the school sometime soon to congratulate them on their work (he already wrote about the program at Common Dreams). Congrats, Room 405!

The Believer comes to town

While not necessarily a literary event, McSweeney's-produced Believer Magazine is holding a show here on Friday, June 4th, at the Empty Bottle featuring indie darlings The Mountain Goats and local favourite Archer Prewitt. $14 gets you in and a copy of the latest Believer -- a great deal. And you just never know, Dave Eggers being from Chicago himself, might just be "visiting" and milling in the crowd...

We're Sinking!

...But it's hardly at a rate worth worrying about. Thanks to the ever-shifting of land masses, apparently sped up by the melting of Canadian glaciers, Chicago is sinking at a rate of one millimeter a year. (Thanks, James)

The Chicago Quill

The Chicago Quill is an independent, nonpartisan magazine of politics, culture and the arts, run by students at the University of Chicago.

Candy snatcher freed!

Northwestern student Alison Baenen, charged with shoplifting after she ate 41 cents' worth of candy in a White Hen Pantry, has had her charges dismissed after she promised never to go into the store again. Says Baenen: "I'm just glad this is over."

Free Coffee and Cigarettes

If you're all geared up to see Jim Jarmusch's new film "Coffee and Cigarettes," but you've spent all your cash and cigarettes, you can enter to win tickets from WBEZ. Seventy-five lucky folks will get passes (for you and a friend), but you have to enter before Tuesday, May 25. The film will be screened at the Landmark Century Cinema on May 27. Who can resist a film whose cast includes Steven Wright, Bill Murray, Iggy Pop, and the White Stripes?

It's either a cougar ... or a big dog

Investigating nearly 50 sightings of a large animal in Lake County since February, wildlife experts have examined paw prints left behind by the animal and surmise that the animal is not a cougar, as has previously been thought, but instead a large dog. Bad dog! Sit! Stay!

Word of The Day: Entomophagy

Get ready: it's going to be a cicada summer. Not the usual swarms of singing insects, but the 17-year cicadas are starting to hatch. Plus, as some have found out, you can eat them (pdf). El Chirper Tacos anyone?

In case you're wondering, Entomophagy is the consumption of insects by humans. More info here:

Glad I have a Cell Phone

Get ready for phone problems: the Communications Workers of America have announced a four-day strike against SBC, starting at midnight Friday. That, of course, means Chicago will see even longer delays than normal for repairs and new service -- not to mention hours on hold waiting to talk to customer service. No comment so far on the local CWA chapter's website. (Thanks, Brenda)

Jazz Chicago

Jazz, that enigmatic and complex music genre, has a Chicago organization. The Jazz Institute of Chicago presents all things jazz here in the windy city, from legendary veterans to the new crop of sizzling players. The site has a vast wealth of information as well as member benefits if you join them, such as insider info, early show warnings, free tickets to shows and discounts at local jazz-flavored record stores. Watch for the free Jazz City Series and the Chicago Edge Concert Series in What's Happening.

Uncommon Exhibit

Dawn Mikulich of Chicago Uncommon is exhibiting selected photos of the city currently on exhibit at the J. Ira & Nikki Harris Family Hostel, 24 East Congress, as part of the city's Embrace Art program. [via Chicagoist. ]

Toronto has a crush on us

We missed this at first (thanks go to PerformInk's Ben Winters for highlighting it), but last month the Toronto Star's theatre critic Richard Ouzounian wrote a love letter to Chicago's theatre industry, and to Mayor Daley for his support of it. "While Toronto has long considered itself 'Broadway North,'" he writes, "it is now outshone by a burgeoning 'Broadway West.'"

Chicago Antique Market

Finally! Chicago will have an antique market in its very own backyard. You can choose to skip the long trek up to Kane County or Sandwich if you like, because on the last Sundays of the month Randolph street will be filled with fancy antiques and flea market type junky things. It's been about nine years since there was a market in the Randolph Market district. The first Sunday is scheduled for May 30th. Admission is $8 and there's free parking. The market will be on Randolph, between Ada and Ogden. For more information call 312/951-9939 or visit

Unhand that candy!

A Northwestern student is facing misdemeanor charges today for eating 41 cents' worth of bulk candy at a White Hen Pantry store without paying for it first. Allison Baenen told the Daily Northwestern, "I'm not what you really call reckless or a danger to society."

Queer Is Folk

This Saturday, May 22, the Old Town School features the fourth annual Queer Is Folk Festival, featuring music and spoken word performances by LGBT artists. Conceived and hosted by Chicago musician Mr. Scott Free (also sponsor of Homolatte Thursdays at the No Exit Cafe), Queer Is Folk's goal "is to help foster the idea of inclusiveness that has always been an important part of the folk tradition." This year's performance is headlined by Melissa Ferrick.

Chicago Blues Tour

The Chicago Blues Festival is just around the corner, but there's another opportunity for a sort of one-day immersion course ahead of the big event: The Chicago Blues Tour June 7th takes you to five South Side blues venues for some real live music. Tickets are just $30, which includes the shuttle bus, admission to all the clubs and a South Side Chicago blues CD. Reserve your seat now by calling 773-772-5506. 

Taxi fare increase looming

With Chicago's gas prices heading towards $2.35 and $2.40 per gallon (according to Chicago Gas Prices), a number of taxi drivers are asking for an increase in cab fares to compensate for the price increase. But to even consider the issue, the city council requires that the drivers turn in a petition signed by 10% of the city's 17,000 licensed drivers -- and when THAT'S been verified, the council has 60 days to hold hearings. Which means that the summer driving season might be over before the fare increase is even considered.

Obama blog

US Senate candidate Barack Obama's official Weblog just went live. Check it out!

Doors Closing...

This Is Grand is a soon-to-launch online journal "publishing short non-fiction narratives about riding Chicago's trains and buses and all that happens when doing so." They're looking for story submissions: email your story, whether it be funny, scary or poignant, to submissionsthisisgrandorg.

Farnsworth House

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's masterpiece, the Farnsworth House, has just reopened its doors to the public. A renowned example of modernist domestic architecture, the house was saved from an uncertain future last December. The grand opening took place last weekend. Tours are available Tuesday through Sunday, advance reservations are required and tickets are $20 per person. To schedule a tour or for more information, call 630/552-0052. The Farnsworth House is located in Plano, approximately 58 miles southwest of Chicago, along the Fox River.

Book and paper arts summer classes

Columbia's Center for Book and Paper Arts has released their summer schedule. Learn new papermaking, bookbinding, and letterpress techniques at night or on the weekends in their well-equipped facilities.

Organic: Now More than Ever

Earlier this month, the first-ever All Things Organic™ tradeshow came to town. North America's only all organic conference and trade show brought some interesting ideas to the table. Organic foods were front and center, but organic clothing, including cotton and wool, had a small part in the All Things Organic show, which was dominated by foods. According to the Organic Trade Association's survey of manufacturers, the overall organic fiber market, including clothing and home textiles, grew almost 23 percent in 2003, accounting for about $85 million in U.S. sales.

Lunch with Russert

Tim Russert, NBC news anchor (and moderator for many of the 2000 presidential debates) will be at the Borders Bookstore at 150 N. State at 12:30 today signing copies of his new book, Big Russ & Me: Father and Son: Lessons of Life. Even if you're not interested in the book, it might be fun to go down and watch the political freaks argue in line.

Bill Irwin at Steppenwolf

Remember Kirby, the Rick Moranis' goofy, merengue-dancing partner in My Blue Heaven? That was Bill Irwin, who's known mostly for his brilliance as a clown and playwright. His Broadway play Fool Moon combined those two skills and earned him a Tony. He's coming to Chicago for one night this summer -- June 7, at Steppenwolf -- where he'll be performing a "pastiche" of his solo stuff. Tickets are $30 and still available.

Muddy Waters

Yesterday government officials proudly showed off the Illinois River sediment that has been arriving from East Peoria to serve as topsoil for a south lakefront park. The river mud was deposited at the old U.S. Steel South Works site, near East 87th street. The plan is for the Mud-to-Parks project to turn the former industrial site into a fertile park. About 105,000 tons of sediment will be placed on top of the slag field to create new parklands.

Larry's Back!

Hoffman Estates-based High Voltage Software debuted "Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude" at the E3 videogame convention last weekend, where it won the Best New Game award. The plot, as with the previous six editions, is to get Larry laid -- and that won't be easy. It's due to hit XBoxes and PS2s in October.

Forever Young

Monday is Bob Dylan's 63rd birthday. Students and staff from the Old Town School of Folk Music will celebrate with a show Saturday at The Hideout, 4-8 p.m. (Unfortunately, is expecting rain, and it might be a hard rain.)

The Governor's garage sale

If you were in Ravenswood Manor yesterday afternoon, you might have seen it: the neighborhood's annual garage sale. What made it special this year was Rod Blagojevich's participation.

Hello Beautiful

WBEZ has just introduced an onslought of excellent new programming for their revised Sunday line up. Three new shows will be airing on Sundays, including Hello Beautiful, an hour long arts and culture program hosted by Edward Lifson. The show will compile stories about local architecture, theater, poetry, painting, sculpture, literature, and more. Also a special feature that will be airing Sundays through June 6th, produced in conjunction with the chicago Blues Festival, is The Blues, The Radio Series. The series highlights special connections to Chicago Blues and this year’s lineup of Festival artists. All of that AND jazz with Dick Buckley from 12-3! There's really no reason to turn the radio off.

Flatfoot Detectives Crack Case

When two severed feet were found in the trunk of an impounded car, Detectives Jones and Schleder were on the case. Fearing foul play, they tracked the car's ownership -- to a bankrupt podiatrist.


HairStories is an exhibition of more than 60 works in various media including paintings, sculpture and photographs now on display at the Chicago Cultural Center. This free exhibit "explores the complex phenomena of Black hair in America as vehicle of self-expression and artistic invention, as well as a reflection of gender and race relations." You can see the exhibition in the Sidney R. Yates Gallery of the Center through July 3.

This biking city

Chicago is one of the best cities in the world to bike. Warm weather is here and people are dustuing off their trusty steeds unless you're like me and you bike all year round. The Tribune has a neat little section about biking in this city spinning a few tales of what it's like and what you can do to bike more everyday including more info about the Millennium Park Bicycle Station.

The Circus sets up shop

This past Saturday, at the last minute, I found myself catching a free performance of The World's Fair Regained, this year's theme for Le Vorris & Vox Circus. They are a circus group made up primarily of University of Chicago students and they've done this for the past three years now. Most have graduated and the word is that they're taking this on the road for the next three years. There are a few ways for your to get involved if you've always wanted to support the circus or be in one (how cool is this?) and if you're just plain curious, take a look at some photos (though this year's one was even bigger and better. For more about this past event, I wrote a little recap.

Election Interactive Map

Illinois will put 21 electoral votes towards the general presidential election on 02 November. How does this fit into the scheme of things? Check out this cool interactive electoral college map from the John Edwards website, and try to guess how the election might turn out. And do a little test for me, too. Click on just two states: New Hampshire and Missouri. What happens? Yippee!

(Sometime this) Millennium Park

Channel 7 news has a nice little recap on the history of Millennium Park. Four years behind schedule, costing three times its original budget, and with most of the park still under construction, the place is finally scheduled for opening this July. (Don't forget, you can still keep an eye on the construction of "The Bean" sculpture via webcam!)

West Nile season has begun

The Tribune reports that DuPage County officials have reported finding a number of mosquitos that have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, and one dead bird that tested positive for the virus. This is the third year that Illinois has had to deal with the disease, and with this year's discovery of the virus it might be time to review the West Nile Virus info site from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Pay special attention to the mosquito photo gallery, as well as the WNV information doorhanger in PDF form. Handy for printing out your own doorhangers!


Boystown-based blogger palochi proposes a new activity for all you WiFi-enabled tipplers out there: Wardrinking. "Instead of driving around in your car looking for open wireless connections (i.e., wardriving), you go to bars and see if there's an unprotected hotspot you can use." Intriguing. [via Bradlands, who may be moving to CHI from STL this summer.]

Belmont-Sheffield Fest

The lineup for this year's Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival has been announced. The headliners are jam band Umphrey's McGee, the Von Bondies [Flash with sound], and some angst-metal band with the hilariously LiveJournal-esque name Smile Empty Soul [Flash with sound and cliches]. After seeing Interpol for five bucks last year, we find this a little disappointing.

All-girl chess championships

This weekend, Chicago plays home to another unique event: the first annual All-Girl National Chess Championship. Girls between the ages of 6 and 18 will be testing their chess-playing skill at the Adler Planetarium this weekend, with awards ceremonies taking place Sunday afternoon at 2:00. For more information on the tournament, you might go check out the Website of Chess Wizards, a Chicago-area group for chess players.

Chicago directors in NJ

The New York Times profiles Chicagoans Gary Griffin and Thomas Murray, as they remount their version of "My Fair Lady" in Princeton, New Jersey. Their production first played the Court Theatre in 2002; Chicago actress Kate Fry is reprising her role as Eliza Doolittle. Griffin is expected to stage another musical at Chicago Shakespeare at the end of the year.

We Delight in Other People's Misfortune

The sketch comedy troupe Schadenfreude -- you may have heard their show on WBEZ Sunday nights at 8:30 -- performs at the Lakeshort Theater, 3175 N. Broadway, tonight and every Friday 'til June 25 at 11pm. The one-hour show showcases the group's unique brand of social and political satire. Tickets are $12, available at the door. Call 773/472-3492 for more info.

Did you say "utes"?

Next on the reality TV circuit: Who wants to be a lawyer? For the next few Sundays, from noon to 6 p.m., FOX will be holding auditions for contestants for their new "courtroom showdown" show at the Allerton Crowne Plaza, 701 N. Michigan Ave. Clean off your resume, dress sharp, brush up on your best Ally McBeal tactics, and you should be good to go.

So So Soy

Following in the footsteps of Jay-Z and other hip-hop moguls, Jermaine Dupri is the new partner of the Chicago-based liquor brand, 3 Vodka. 3 Vodka is the only vodka in the world distilled from soy and the first spirit to receive government approval to state zero carbohydrates and is also endorsed by the American Vegetarian Association. Dupri is a Grammy-nominated producer and CEO of So So Def Recordings, the label he founded in 1992 at age 19.

New look for Seurat painting

One of the most recognizable paintings in the Art Institute's collection, Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte," doesn't quite look like how it originally did when it first went on display in 1886. Over the years, the paints have faded and changed color quite a bit. A reconstructed version of the painting (a full-size digital print), along with 130 other pieces of Seurat artwork, will be going on display in a new show at the museum, due to open June 19th. Information on the new show is available at the Art Institute site, and members can purchase tickets for the show now. (The general public must wait until May 15.)

Mancow's least favorite listener

The Wall Street Journal reports on Chicagoan David Smith, who's been listening to Mancow's show since 1999 ... and has sent more than 70 complaints to the FCC, resulting in a number of fines against Mancow and Q-101. Worth checking out the article just to see a Wall-Street-Journal-type stipple portrait of Mancow.

Neighborhood guide

Metromix has published a Neighborhood Guide. It's not bad at all and highlights some areas that are changing in recent years and becoming less the secret place you tell only your friends about including Beverly, Portage Park, Bridgeport and the rapidly changing Uptown.

No, Don't Sugarcoat It

Esquire Magazine debuts Brutally Honest Personals, where there's no need to interpret what's BS and what's not. There're a few Chicagoans on the list: Adena, Beth, Leah and Philip are waiting for your email.

Melissa Weimer Photography

Thursday morning is a little bit easier to start when there's some beautiful photos to look through. And Melissa Weimer brings the goods. Her gorgeous cityscapes have recently been published in local magazine, Ten by Ten but every single photo is well fawning over.

Chicago astronomy

If you find yourself gazing out at the night sky, take it one step further and meet up with some local amateur astronomers. The Skokie Valley Astronomers are up north, the Northwest Suburban Astronomers are northwest, and of course, there's always the Adler Planetarium. In addition, a more city-focused (can you really see much beyond the orange haze?) group is forming to track eclipses, planetary conjunctions, and comets; for more information, email


Fresh out of a Chicago clinic, Jeff Tweedy is ready to start touring with Wilco. Said Tweedy: "All my best friends now are crack addicts."

Emmett Till Murder Investigation to be Re-Opened

If you missed it, you can listen to today's Tavis Smiley show on Chicago Public Radio. Smiley discussed the announcement this week by the Justice Department that it was re-opening an investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American Chicago resident who was kidnapped and murdered in August 1955 while visiting family in Money, Mississippi. Smiley talked with Keith Beauchamp, a filmmaker from New York who spent the last nine years making the documentary "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till." Other guests included Emmett Till's cousin Simeon Wright and trial attorney Raymond Brown. Many people have contributed to this trial being investigated, including U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush, as previously reported.

Swing Yer Partner!

Looking for a square dance? Since 1987, the Chi-Town Squares has promoted and taught modern square dancing. They welcome all dancers, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, ethnic background, or sexual orientation. Dances take place at the Ebenezer Church Community Center at 1640 W. Foster. Classes don't start till September, but the next dance is June 19th.

Naperville's Number One!

Money Magazine recently rated the best American cities and small towns to live in, and Naperville came out on top in the "Central" region for cities with populations over 100,000. In the small town category, Libertyville, Fremont, Bartlett, Ela (Township, a.k.a. Lake Zurich) and Buffalo Grove made the list. Woohoo! Go suburbs! (Thanks, Brenda.)

Come and get it

The farmers market season kicks off tomorrow at Daley Plaza, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The outstanding Green City Market in Lincoln Park starts Wednesday, May 19. Weekly markets at Federal Plaza begin Tuesday, May 18, and most other city markets begin the third week of June.

Seymour Hersh in Chicago

The Hartford Courant profiles Seymour Hersh, the Chicago native, U of C grad and veteran of fabled City News Bureau who exposed My Lai during Vietnam and has been advancing the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in the New Yorker. Hersh speaks Friday at a U of C conference titled Constru(ct)ing the Current: Theorizing Media in a New Millennium.

Official Flower of Chicago?

This is cool. A retail site totally devoted to reducing and eliminating plastic grocery bags - The facts about the wastefulness of plastic bags are astounding. A dot-com that does good things and has their headquarters on S. Michigan Ave no less.

Metromix with water colors?

DailyCandy -- e-mail updates on "food, fashion and fun," currently serving New York and L.A. -- is coming to Chicago. Yay.

Speaking of Baseball

What's the difference between Cubs fans and White Sox fans? Claire Zulkey was recently asked that question, and turned to "two totally separate biased people" for the answer.

Prior gets his sheepskin

Cubs pitching phenom Mark Prior, All-Star, Cy Young finalist, Collegiate Player of the Year, first round draft pick, &c., can now add one more title to his ever-growing list of accolades: Bachelor of Business. After finishing off his remaining credits over the past couple years, Prior will be getting his college diploma when he walks in the USC commencement ceremonies on Friday.

The Playground For People Who Think

I bet you never suspected that there is a college at the corner of Irving, Lincoln, and Damen? The College Of Complexes has a weekly meeting with some zany topics at the Lincoln Restaurant. This week's topic is "Autoholics Anonymous", quite timely with gas prices what they are. (Also, site has incredibly large number of bizarre gifs, like this fortune-teller or this alien.) 8pm at the Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln. $3 plus food purchase.

New Green Elementary School

More news on Chicago's green front: today the city will break ground for the first certified "green" elementary school, an eco-friendly structure featuring drought-resistant plants on the roof, solar panels, harvested rainwater and flooring made of recycled glass. The new Tarkington Elementary School, in the Marquette Park neighborhood, is one of four schools built following a philosophy of using resources efficiently, making the least impact on the environment and making the health and productivity of the occupants a priority.


Gothamist introduces Chicagoist, "a website about Chicago and everything that happens in it. That means news and events, restaurants and bars, happenings and goings-on."

Downtown Chicago casino already a bust?

A day after Mayor Daley announced his plans for a downtown Chicago casino, Crain's Chicago Business reports that Governor Blagojevich opposes Daley's plans, and will veto any legislation that calls for a downtown casino.

Summer Geocaching

In a post I wrote last year, I mentioned Geocaching. The ChiTown Cachers is a local group of cachers who organize events and get togethers to share stories of geocaching and to gush over their GPS units (I'm presuming). Most importantly, there's a huge list of caches all over the Chicagoland area. For even more info, join the Yahoo Group. Damn, do I want a GPS unit now. Another item added to the summer To Do list.

The 'Bird wins a Beard

The James Beard awards -- the Oscars of the culinary world -- were announced last night, and local celebrity chef Paul Kahan won for best chef in the midwest. Kahan runs the kitchen at the much-celebrated Blackbird restaurant, on Randolph's restaurant row. Also victorious was Steve Dolinsky, host of CLTV's Good Eating, for best local cooking show. James Beard, by the way, was considered the "Dean of American Cookery," but did you know he was also a WWII cryptographer?

Suburban Scavenging

Do you stare at the trucks trolling the alleys wistfully? Do you want to take your alley shopping to the next level? The City Of Elmhurst is having its 2004 Annual Spring Clean-Up, which offers unparalled possibilities for junk scavenging. Bicycles, lamps, luggage, furniture, records - all perfectly usable and totally free. Best of all - you won't have to be embarassed, because there will be hundreds of other people doing the same. In full daylight.

That's a lotta B.S.

Feeling smart today? U.S. Census results show that 27 percent of Chicago residents 25 and older have at least a bachelor's degree. The national average is just under 26 percent. The state average is even better: 28 percent, which ranks Illinois 14th in a list of states by education. (Not surprisingly, Massachusetts is #1, with 35 1/2 percent of its population with college degrees.)

Scotchguard the Auditorium

Scotchguard is running a contest of sorts with the National Trust for Historic Preservation: vote for one the 20 buildings on their list, and the winner will be protected and preserved with a variety of Scotchguard products. Kind of odd, yes, but any effort toward preservation of historic buildings is a good one. The Auditorium Theater is Chicago's entry; vote early and often! (Thanks, Ed.)

Care to Place a Wager?

There has been a flurry of news in recent weeks regarding gambling in the area. The last state license was recently awarded to the Isle of Capri, leading to many suspicious questions about the state of gambling in Illinois. Then, the Ho-Chunk nation announced plans of an independent, federally-approved gambling complex in the south suburbs. Lastly, news comes that our Mayor is ready to get in on the action. Crain's puts together a comprehensive review of this strategy, one that was abandoned 12 years ago by Daley.

No Fries With That

Today marks the first day McDonald's will offer Happy Meals for adults. The Meals contain one Premium salad -- California Cobb salad, Caesar salad, or Bacon Ranch, or Fiesta salad -- water, and a pedometer with a book on walking. The salads contain between 10 and 27 grams of fat before adding salad dressing, which can pack on up to 18 additional fat grams. That's, um, healthy.

Fully Wireless Hotels?

In just 15 days this past April, StayOnline was able to do what many claimed as impossible -- the company was able to render the historic InterContinental Chicago fully wireless in just 15 days. One of the city's grandest and largest hotels, the transition required as little disruption as possible to its building, guests and staff during the installation. Read more about hotels as the next hottest WiFi spots here.

When Anchormen Go Wild

Walter Jacobson, Channel 32's anchor and commentator, was arrested for DUI over the weekend. A cop warned him not to get into his car after he was seen stumbling out of a pizza joint; he did anyway, with predictable results. (Thanks, Claire and Jennifer.)

Squirrel lovers club

If you're really into squirrels, head on out to Earlville on June 6 for a celebration brought to you by the Squirrel lovers club. There, you can swap squirrel pictures and stories and... whatever else it is that squirrel lovers do. The best part of the club? Their number is 1-888-343-NUTS.

CTA Issues

Think the trains and busses are slow now? Wait till later this year, when rehab projects on the Red and Brown lines begin and the roadwork season starts. The Redeye (!) took commuter complaints to the CTA, and, surprisingly, the CTA responded. (Bonus: They also provided contact info so you can submit complaints or suggestions to the CTA board directly.)

Johnny Payphone, bikes and...Ghana?

You may have read a story a few weeks ago in the Reader about Johnny Payphone, a bike advocate and Rat Bike rider. He's currently in Ghana helping the local government get their people mobile by making cargo loading bikes as part of the wonderful outfit that is Working Bikes, a local organization and excellent source for used bikes here in Chicago. You can follow his exploits via his weblog or you can help the cause at Working Bikes. As for more Ghana, you can read about a firsthand experience right here (parts 1, 2, 3 and 4) courtesy of our very own Jes Davis.

Funding Fishiness

Crain's reports that the budget outlook for WTTW isn't nearly as bleak as they've been leading donors to believe. Solicitation letters claimed a $1 million shortfall that needs to be plugged by the end of June, but Ch. 11's CFO says there's no shortfall at all.

Art Chicago in trouble?

The 2004 Art Chicago fair is wrapping up Monday night, but the Sun-Times reports that dealers are staying away from the fair and going to similar events in other cities. Despite a decrease in dealer attendance, Art Chicago officials are optimistic, pointing out that they have "dates booked through 2010."

What's that smell?

Apparently Lemont, IL smells so bad that they've started their own odor detection department. (Most of the odors come from the number of refineries, tank farms, chemical plants and canal barges surrounding the village.)

David Sedaris at Barbara's in OP

David Sedaris is coming out with a new book and is coming to Barbara's in Oak Park to pimp it on June 4 and 5. (Early warning: he's also coming on Halloween to the Chicago Theatre.) See how small he really is and laugh and laugh and then laugh some more.

Shubert Theatre to be renamed

The Shubert Theatre is going to be closed down early next year for a multi-million dollar renovation, and is scheduled to reopen with a new name: the LaSalle Bank Theatre. Theatre history: the Shubert name comes from the Shubert Organization, which bought the theatre in 1945 and named it for organization co-founder Sam Shubert.

3D City

The Windy City Project is a collection of impressive 3D renderings of Chicago architecture by Japanese architecture students. [via coudal]

1905-1907 Breasted Expeditions

Browse over one thousand photographs taken by James Henry Breasted during his two trips to Nubia between 1905 and 1907. Breasted was a professor of Egyptology and Oriental Studies at the University of Chicago at the beginning of the 20th century. This digital collection, titled "The 1905-1907 Breasted Expeditions to Egypt and the Sudan: A Photographic Study," is presented by the Oriental Insititute of the University of Chicago.

Bikes for Women!

Are you an avid cyclist and a lady? The Cycling Sisters wants you. This Chicago group promotes bike communting, provides bike tips, and organizes outings for gals.

All in the family

I heard these guys on WBEZ's 848 show a couple of months ago and fell for their breezy pop sensibilities and intelligent edgy lyrics. They are called the Aluminium Group, two brothers who use an iPod for backing tracks. Saturday they are playing at the Old Town School of Folk Music with actual people! Frank and John Navin will be joined by the Changes, a pianist and a back up singer May 8 at 8p.m. The Old Town School is at 4544 N. Lincoln. And if you can, also catch them at a free show tonight at 8 where they'll be using the ol' iPod at the Borders at 4718 N. Broadway.

South Side Bread: the Art of Pita

Travel southwest from the city to Oak Lawn and find the bakery which produces the famous 'south side bread' that you may see on signs all over the city. The bakers at Salaam Bakery produce thousands of hand-made pitas and other baked items made fresh daily. Many in the city swear by these pitas, and owners of north-side Middle Eastern restaurants make the trip just for this superb bread. Ever been to Sultan's Market? Then you've tried these pitas.

Cubs Souvenir a Factor in Murder

A Cubs fan was murdered just outside the Cubby Bear last night. Amid the post-game chaos, Frank Hernandez whacked an SUV with a mini souvenir bat. The driver leapt from the car and battled with Hernandez until the driver's companion shot Hernandez in the chest. Hernandez had just watched the Cubs win against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Northwestern doctor training for space

Northwestern orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Satcher gets to go into space because NASA wants to research the effects of space on bone loss. Hey, NASA! Maybe you want to study the effects of space on Website design?


Hi folks, sorry for the semi-downtime. Our hosting provider ran into a bit of a security snafu and the database was wonky. Things are back to normal.

U Chicago scavenger hunt begins!

The list of items and tasks for the 2004 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt is up in PDF form (original link, mirror site). The hunt kicks off today and concludes on Sunday the 9th, Judgment Day. If the Scavenger Hunt site is a bit slow for you right now (due to it being Slashdotted), peruse this article on the hunt.

The Stray Show 04

The Stray Show happens this weekend. Now in its third year, it brings a diverse and vast collection of galleries, artists and other creatives together to foster progression of the arts. Quite an impressive group of Chicago's finest representing. Be sure to check it out. Opening night celebrations happen this evening with the Stray Show proper Friday through Sunday.

Self Publishing of the Drawn Kind

We're all familiar with the concept of self-publishing, right? Well, the folks at Apex Press WebComics are taking it to new heights. This diverse group of formed in 1998 and finally has a web presence. Their first book won't be out until September, but they have sketches of characters and scenes up now. They'll also be at Wizard World in August. Good luck!

Chicago Mag gets props

Chicago Magazine took the award for General Excellence in its circulation category at the National Magazine Awards yesterday. The judges, apparently Gilbert & Sullivan fans, called it "the very model of a modern major city magazine." Esquire won the profile writing award for its piece on the downfall of former Trib columnist Bob Greene.

Chicago history mural

What's 8 feet tall and 100 yards long? A new mural that Art Institute students are painting right now, which is set to be put up at Millennium Park in a couple of weeks. The mural includes Chicago notables from Mayor Daley to Oprah to Sue (you know, Sue), and will be at the park through mid-summer.

But they've got great wings!

Most people would describe Gary as "an experience that enlivens the senses". That's how Hooters Air is describing their in-flight experience as well. Now you can combine those two experiences - Hooters Air is offering flights from Gary International Airport to Myrtle Beach, SC. Hooters Air is in distinguished company here. Casino Express (Elko Nevada's #1 airline!) and Southeastern Airlines ("A fare to remember.") You get free parking at the Gary Airport too - if you dare.

Wal-Mart decision delayed

The City Council, expected to vote today on whether to allow Wal-Mart stores in the city limits, instead delayed the vote until May 26, at the requests of aldermen and activists who are concerned about the effect the stores could have on the surrounding neighborhoods.

Made in Chicago

Babies Born With a Mission: In a growing practice that troubles some ethicists, a Chicago laboratory helped create five healthy babies so that they could serve as stem-cell donors for their ailing brothers and sisters.

Hassled by the Man in Wisconsin

Sun-Times columnist Mary Laney was pulled over by Wisconsin police on Saturday for speeding, and was subsequently told her license was suspended in Wisconsin. After writing about it Monday, a sheriff from Racine County tried to reassure Illinois motorists that Wisconsin troopers weren't out to get them, and a columnist for Wisconsin's Journal Times sorted out the whole mess: Mary Laney's license was in fact suspended in Wisconsin due to two other speeding tickets, but the suspension should have been cleared from her record by now. Not surprisingly, the error was corrected after Laney's column was printed.

Betty Rules!

Betty Rules band members will be sneaking into Women & Children First tonight at 7:30 to play a couple of songs from their off-Broadway musical hit. Alyson Palmer, Amy Ziff and Elizabeth Ziff's show chronicles the trials and tribulations of an unsigned band in a signed-band world and will be running for seven weeks at the Lakeshore Theater beginning May 6.
If you buy a ticket for next Wednesday's (May 12) show, you can pay half price, support Equality Illinois and the Lesbian Community Cancer Project, and get admission to an after-party at Sidetracks where you can hang with the cast and other celebrities. To get your $17.50 or $25 VIP tickets, just call Equality Illinois (773-477-7173) and tell them you're a Women and Children First customer -- but do so before 5pm on Friday, or you'll have to pay full price.

The circus is coming to town

Looking for a little juggling, people walking on stilts, and silly face painting? The U of C circus troupe, Le Vorris and Vox, is putting on their show on May 14th and 15th. This being the U of C, they do have a circus syllabus to correspond to the event, but they also have a lot of links to places where you can learn circus acrobatics, like the Clown Workshop and Aerial Arts Intermediate.

Tattoo Turbulence on Taylor

If you read no other story on Gapers Block this week, read today's Revenge of the Second City. It details the plight of Taylor Street Tattoo in its struggle against the powerful University Village Association. Powerful stuff.

We Have Cameras

We have a collection of random vintage cameras in our closet, mostly gathering dust. We're not the only ones, apparently: the Chicago Photographic Collectors Society has been connecting photo and camera collectors to each other since 1971.

Northsiders vs. Southsiders

We aim to make you laugh every morning (at least we try to) and thus here comes the official GB Humorous Moment of the Day yet again. Northsiders vs. Southsiders, a funny "look" at the difference between watching the Cubs and watching the Sox. Note: flash movie.

Orange Meadowbrite: made in Chicago

As previously reported in GB, the Chicago Botanic Garden unveiled a new plant this year: the Orange Meadowbrite, a scented orange coneflower that was mentioned on today's All Things Considered. The Orange Meadowbrite will be one of the stars of the botanic garden's upcoming 39th annual spring plant sale, A Bloomin' Sale.

Vote on Wal-mart tomorrow

As has been discussed here earlier, Wal-mart is trying to put a store on the west side and the south side of the city. Residents, aldermen and religious leaders are divided in their opinions of the store. Wal-mart's representatives still refuse to put verbal promises, like hiring parolees from the neighborhood to fill jobs, in writing. The City Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow afternoon on zoning changes which, if passed, would permit the stores to open.

Chicago's Zine Scene

The Chicago Tribune today takes a look at Chicago's zine scene. The article lists some of the best bookstores for locating zines and small-press magazines and reviews several of the city's best zines including WhiteWalls and Bridge Magazine.

Park Watch

Millennium Park is the crown jewel in Daley's plan for the "greening" of the city. As it nears completion, it's worth taking a look at, a clearinghouse of information about the construction of the park and its many amenities.

The week (so far) in dietary news

Yesterday, the Sun-Times reported on McDonald's reaction to the new documentary Super Size Me, which shows the effects of eating Mickey D's food exclusively for a month. (The movie opens in Chicago on Friday.) And today, they report that the USDA asserts that low-carb diets are a fad, just like the low-fat diets of the 1990s. (This isn't preventing retailers from making big bucks selling low-carb foods right now, of course; the Food Marketing Institute Convention, currently under way at McCormick Place, features a whole array of new low-carb items, from pizza to salad dressings.)

Freecycle it!

If you're doing some spring cleaning and have stuff to get rid of, or if you just moved and need a few secondhand items, check out Freecycle. Freecycle is a worldwide non-profit group that helps to reduce the amount of garbage in landfills and new products bought by providing a forum through which people can post unwanted items, or requests for things. There is only one rule: everything must be free. No bartering, no selling. The Chicago chapter is thriving with over 1800 members exchanging furniture, books, computer equipment, and lots of other odds and ends.

1-2-3, 1-2-3 ....

It's that time of year—wedding season. Not only do you have wedding chicken, open bars, and gift registries to look forward to, but also the dreaded dancefloor. Polish up your formal footwork at one of Chicago's many dance studios. Check out wedding and other dance packages at Chicago Swing, Dance Center Chicago, Chicago Dance and others.

Travis Lampe

More great illustration work is getting out there. Travis Lampe's illustrations are full of life, clever meaning and imagination. I'm sure the editorial work is pouring in. Perfect for a Tuesday morning. [ via The Big C ]

Since when?

Hubris apparently is not among the many obstacles to securing a liquor license in Chicago. A gay sports bar opening next to the historic Green Mill is claiming to be the world's greatest bar. And in west Lakeview a new Irish bar is billing itself as being "since 1972," despite the fact that until December its space was occupied by the landmark Romanian restaurant Little Bucharest. The world's greatest and 32 years old, all before pouring a single pint.

Nobody Beats the Biz

On Friday Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe hosts an evening with New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to honor her leadership and contributions to the Democratic Party. Along with free vodka cocktails there'll be live hip-hop by Biz Markie, of all people. Tickets range from $50-$200 and proceeds will benefit the DNC's Presidential Fund. Some sites report that Drew Barrymore, Jamie Blythe from ABC's "The Bachelorette," and Mallory Snyder from MTV's "The Real World, Paris" will also be in attendance, so really, there's something for almost everybody. The evening's events take place from 6 to 10 p.m., at the W Hotel, at 172 W. Adams Street, and you must be 21 or older to attend.

World Fair Trade Day

Fair Trade leaders and activists will gather at the World Fair Trade Day Fair at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum this Saturday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will highlight what the average citizen can do to make trade fair. The day will feature presentations by expert Mexican coffee farmers and a fair featuring fair trade product vendors. To find out more, check with Oxfam.

The return of Fannie May?

Good news for Fannie May chocolate fans: Alpine Confections, the owner of the Fannie May and Fanny Farmer brands, announced plans today to re-open some Fannie May stores, two of which will be located in Chicago.

Eat Bacon

The GB official Humorous Moment of the Day comes courtesy of photographer and Rearview contributor, Archie Florcruz. Hand dryers in bathrooms now dispense bacon. Yum!

Back to Baghdad

Earlier this year, local filmmaker (and Z Film Festival organizer) Usama Alshaibi and his wife Kristie returned to his birthplace in Iraq to film a documentary. The result is "Back to Baghdad," currently in the editing process. The Alshaibis are blogging about the making of the film at

Name-Brand Chicago Stories

Victory Gardens Theater has turned three prominent Chicagoans into amateur playwrights for its annual Chicago Stories benefit this Friday. Queer Eye's Ted Allen, Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, and philanthropist Susan Pritzker have each written one-act plays to be performed at the gala at the Four Seasons. Past celebrity playwrights for the annual event include Roger Ebert, Carol Moseley Braun, Jesse Jackson, and Stedman Graham. With tickets starting at $250, most of us will just have to imagine the scenes being set.

Damn the Doubters

After the big news that a Chicago man would be running the show at Trump Tower, some were speculating that the building would never become a reality. Now comes news that the project is moving forward, with a spectacular $750 million construction loan very close to funding. Some say the decision to hire the Chicago finalist pushed Trump's project to the finish line, using the show as a marketing dream come true. If all falls in place accordingly, look towards a September date to begin demolishing the former site of the Sun-Times.

Uncommon Ground

Dawn Mikulich is Chicago's biggest fan. On her photo site, Chicago Uncommon, she maintains a visual love letter to her favorite city through amazing digital and analog photography. A Chicagoan will find most of her images to be of familiar ground, yet also uncommonly fresh. If you fall in love yourself, you can buy a copy of any shot as a print or digital file.

Gay Marriage Rally

This Friday,, the Illinois Green Party and Chicago Anti-Bashing Network are sponsoring an evening of speakers to address the fight for equal marriage rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. Speakers include Patricia Ireland, former president of NOW and senior advisor to; Jason West, the New Paltz, NY, mayor who supports gay marriage; Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Metropolitan Community Churches minister; and Robin Tyler, stage producer for the first three national lesbian and gay marches on Washington. It all gets started this Friday night, at 7 p.m. at the Preston Bradley Center, located at 941 W. Lawrence. If you'd like more information, check out, where you can also download handbills.

Subsystence v 1.0

subsystence is a new magazine with issue one out now. It offers lots of free downloads of electronic music in addition to articles, with a publishing schedule of every other month. Go for the magazine release party on May 3 at Sonotheque, 1444 W Chicago.

Hot Doug's mourned

The Tribune has a story on the fire at Hot Doug's last weekend. No details as to when they'll be opening again, alas.



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