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. 

TODAY

Tuesday, December 7

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Merge

Doc Releases Fall Schedule

Doc Films, one the oldest student-run film groups in the nation, has just announced another packed Autumn lineup. Operating out of Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago, Doc traditionally creates a theme for each day of the week, with more esoteric cinema showing Sunday through Thursday. This season is no exception, featuring work from Kenji Mizoguchi and Jim Jarmusch, as well as up-and-coming Nordic filmmakers. They also frequently hold special events that are worth looking out for; Errol Morris, Ang Lee, Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, and Roger Ebert have all participated in recent screenings.

Keeping the blog-light burning

We were saddened a couple of weeks ago, when we read that Aaron of Uppity-Negro had died. But we're glad to read that Aaron's mother Jessie, and his sister Val, will be keeping his blog alive by updating on occasion. Their first post shows promise and I think Aaron would be proud.

Shutterbug the CTA

Today is the last day to submit pictures of the CTA to the This is Grand photo contest. The three winners and some finalists will have their work displayed at Darkroom beginning November 14. See the rules page for more information.

Escape the Concrete Jungle

Have you ever felt the need to escape your day-to-day life for just a couple of hours? Luckily, Megan Williamson provides us with such an escape. An artist trained in the beauty of the Umbrian contryside, now Megan paints some of Wicker Park's urban gardens for a living. The journey wasn't always pretty, after her husband suffered an accident requiring spinal cord surgery, but Megan continued doing what she does best, painting landscapes. See her current exhibit at the Thomas Masters Gallery, 245 W. North Ave, extended through today.

Must See TV

Give your channel-flipping finger a rest tonight and head to the Chicago Historical Society to watch the first Presidential debate. The CHS event will begins at 6 p.m. (the debates start at 8 p.m.) with a reception and a discussion by local journalists and scholars. Tickets are $5 and students get in free with ID. For more information check the Slowdown. Prove that the smart ones not only watch The Daily Show, they also watch the debates.

Artists' Open House

Fall is here, time to stock up on art for the winter. Head down to Pilsen this weekend for the Chicago Art District's annual Artists Open House. Opening night is tomorrow starting at 6pm, and the galleries will be open both Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7pm for your viewing pleasure. Check here for a full listing of shows.

Theatre To Get Facelift

The Daily Herald reports that the historic, but ailing Des Plaines Theatre may be getting a much needed facelift thanks to a deal struck between the theatre's owners and the Des Plaines Theater Preservation Society. Neon lighting will be repaired, and the sign will get a new coat of paint. Preservationists are hopeful that this will be the first step towards a complete restoration.

Women Come to the Front

Helen Kirkpatrick, Jane Meyer, Virginia Prewett and Sigrid Shultz are among the accredited female correspondants that worked for Chicago newspapers during World War II. Their stories and the profiles of eight other women are part of Women Come to the Front: Journalists, Photographers and Broadcasters During World War II, an online exhibition from the Library of Congress.

Lincoln/Net

The Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project, hosted by Northern Illinois University, "presents historical materials from Abraham Lincoln's Illinois years (1830-1861)." These materials include Lincoln's own writings and other primary texts, images, videos and interpretive materials. Lincoln/Net is a rich archive of literature concerning Abraham Lincoln and the early statehood of Illinois.

Solar Power Open House

In Chicago, there are three constants in life: death, taxes, and heating bills. You might be able to reduce/eliminate the heating bill portion by using solar power. Many of the solar energy sites around the city and region are offering open-houses this weekend so you can see how people in Illinois put the sun to good use. There is a clickable map to illustrate the tours available, or you can look at the tour list if you want to see the addresses of the sites sponsoring tours.

Billboard Brouhaha

Seems like billboards are springing up all over, doesn't it? In Des Plaines, it's no joke: three towering billboards have been built along major roads there recently, and seven more are planned. It's become a serious scandal, meriting US Attorney review. The Journal & Topics is covering the story, which includes revelations that a former police officer convicted of bribery and tax evasion was treasurer of the sign company involved in the issue.

Rules of Panhandling

The City Council seems to be headed towards restricting panhandling, particularly "aggressive" panhandling. It would also restrict where one could be approached, with specific limits around ATMs, bus and El stops, and public transit.

Get High and Get Down

Looking for something different to do this evening? Well, the elusive ambient/downtempo collective Atmospheric Audio Chair has reformed — this time with promotional support from Apple and Wired — and will be holding a post-work (5-8 pm) monthly session on the 33rd floor of Chicago's W Hotel Lakeshore. Led by DJs Ken Waagner and Tom Pazen, enjoy a healthy dose of relaxed music in the only local bar that rotates 360 degrees every hour. Also happening tonight is the third installment of XOJK at Sonotheque, which proudly features John Herndon of Tortoise and Lazy FM's Rob Hamilton. Both events are 21+ with no cover.

Obama overkill?

Presumptive Senator Barack Obama gets the benefit of a fundraiser this Friday at the Park West featuring Robin Williams, Stevie Wonder and the Ramsey Lewis Trio ($350 for the nosebleeds), to be followed by a $2500-a-head dinner at Christie Hefner's place. Not that we begrudge him the attention, but with a 51-point polling lead over Alan Keyes, does Obama really need the money at this point?

Look at your Luckyface

Luckyface, another (but good!) online creative endeavor, has some standout features. Of particular note, the photo essay about the Burgoo Festival in Utica, IL is like getting small glimpses of lives you don't know and Left of the Middle is an excellent photo travelogue from Chicago to the wild west.

Congressional Travel

Last night, the radio show Marketplace started a two-part special feature on abuses of rules governing who pays for congressional travel. "Power Trips" was investigated in part by Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism students and includes a searchable database of who paid for what on trips each representative or senator has taken since 2000. Click here to see how much Illinois congresspeople have gotten. The second part of the feature airs tonight at 6:30pm on WBEZ.

Apple picking season

It's finally starting to feel like fall, what better time to hit an orchard for apple-picking, cider, and donuts? Depending on how far you want to go, there are many options: this U of I page lists all of the orchards in Illinois, including Homestead Orchard in Woodstock. Related: apple varieties.

Del.icio.us!

Del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager that allows you to categorize and share your bookmarks, while subscribing to other peoples' lists. There is, of course, a Chicago page, that lists all bookmarks tagged with "Chicago."

This year's geniuses

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which you might be surprised to learn has its headquarters in Chicago, announced its 2004 list of MacArthur Fellows who will each receive a "genius grant" of $500,000 over the next 5 years. There are two Chicago residents in this year's list: author Aleksandar Hemon and ragtime composer Reginald R. Robinson.

Keyes To the Closet

Uh-oh, seems senate hopeful Alan Keyes may have been calling the kettle black regarding Cheney's daughter: rumors and a good deal of evidence are being circulated indicating Maya Keyes is a lesbian. Chillinois has running coverage of this, starting here, Wonkette also comments and there's plenty of discussion on DailyKos. This Xanga site may or may not be Maya's. [Thanks, John!]

A Swampy Future

The NYT runs a short feature regarding a farm that lies 165 miles southwest of Chicago, called Emiquon. Why is this sprawling farm in Illinois taking up front page real estate at the Times? According to the article, an interesting experiment is taking place. Over the next few months, after the last harvest of corn and soybeans, planting will cease and flooding will begin. The expected result: "ecologists think that within just a year or two, they can return this farm to its natural state as a thriving wetland". When planting began along riverbanks to ease agriculture many decades ago, it destroyed the precious wetlands surrounding our rivers. Read more here about the attempts to create more wetlands in Illinois.

El Dia De Los Muertos

Tribute And Tradition, the 18th Annual exhibit honoring El Dia De Los Muertos, has opened at the fabulous Mexican Fine Arts Center in Pilsen. It's a little gem of a museum down in Pilsen that in addition to offering many alters, they also have classes so you can make your own.

What Artists Listen To

Ever wonder what music art students listen to? Well, even if you haven't, check out Radio Free SAIC, the School of the Art Institute's student-run Internet radio station. (Of course, you'll have to wait till you get home; the station mostly airs in the evening.)

Real Film Photoblog

In a genre where digital is the default, it's nice to see someone still working with actual film. Out of Contxt is local (although the photos aren't always), mostly black and white, and all that grain is physical, not compression artifacts. Worth checking out.

Public Versus Private

Here's a shocking statistic: nearly 40 percent of Chicago Public School teachers send their own children to private schools, nearly double the national average. Talk about an indictment of CPS.

The Cult of Kinsella

I'll pose this to you: What is the fascination with Tim Kinsella (lookee! A homepage!) ? For those not in the know, Tim (and his brother Mike) could be considered Chicago indie music royalty, having played in (and continue to play in) Cap N' Jazz, Joan of Arc, American Football, Owen, Owls, Friend/Enemy, Make Believe and countless other side projects that have turned them into their own game of Six Degrees of Kinsella. Other people write about the Kinsellas and their proliferation. You may have seen him around Chicago, the last time I saw Tim was at Arturo's Tacos at two in the morning. Spot a Kinsella today!

Night Moves

Recently profiled [reg. req'd] in the Friday section of yesterday's Tribune, it seems Chicago is enjoying a long-awaited renaissance within its dance music community. Tonight is a perfect example of this resurgence of interest in electronic music, with fantastic lineups at the Empty Bottle, Rodan, Zentra, Cafe Lura, Smart Bar and Sonotheque. I know where I'll be already, but what about you?

Early and often

You want a little multitasking with your GB Get-Together tonight? Come on by, and if you're a city resident I'll get you registered to vote. How 'bout that?

Bluegrass Accelerator

You know Fermilab has an arts series, right? The season starts tomorrow with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. Reader Tim says, "So as you listen to his lonesome, plaintive voice in this most improbable of places, it may occur to you what particle physics and Ralph Stanley have in common: they both keep asking the fundamental questions."

Where to Meet

Want to meet new people? You could come to our GB Get-Together tonight, but in a more long-term sense, you could check out MEETinChicago, a free service to "provide a relaxed, 'non-pickup-scene' social environment for people to enjoy." It's free, and there's a ton of things to do listed, from camping trips to movie outings to just drinks. Pretty cool!

CTA Cutbacks Loom

Just what we needed: The CTA is threatening rush-hour service cutbacks if it doesn't get more state and federal funding, and Mayor Daley is backing them up. "Sometimes, you don't have any money. What are you gonna do?" the always eloquent Daley said. (On the plus side, starting today your CTA card also works on Pace buses.)

Sex toy reviewer needed

If you're looking for some freelance writing work, and are comfortable writing about sex (and porn, and toys...), check out today's listings in the Writing jobs section of Craigslist. Adult film reviewer, Sextoy reviewer, Sexual health writer, and more jobs have been posted. Too bad there's no ad for a sex columnist.

Alice, Alice, Alice!

There must be something surreal in the air, because at least three local theater companies are doing or are planning productions based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland books. The Lookingglass Theatre's "Lookingglass Alice" is coming next February, and next week the Chopin Theatre's presenting UMA Productions' "Enter Alice," which apparently combines the Alice story with elements of burlesque. But this weekend, you can catch the Neo-Futurists' production of "Alice," which opened last week and collected favorable reviews from the Tribune, the Sun-Times, Newcity and the Reader (review not online). See the Neo-Futurist Website for more information on "Alice" and to make reservations.

The Lowercase Tee

Are you voting against George W. Bush in November and have a kid between the ages of 4 and 8? If not, do you know a fellow parent who shares your enthusiasm for 'regime change' here at home? Well, Coudal Partners have created just the thing for you. Their new Lowercase Tee, printed to perfection by the folks at Threadless, allows kids to do a little election-year sloganeering of their own. Because it's time to fight like kids do — dirty.

Better late than never?

Perhaps you remember reading this column (last item) or this column (last item) by Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg. He made some comments about a lawsuit accusing William Kennedy-Smith of raping an employee five years ago and then harrassing her by telephone earlier this year. At least a couple bloggers wrote letters complaining about Steinberg and got responses from him and his editor. It took about a month, but the Sun-Times finally printed a letter (second item) written by Chicago NOW and Rape Victim Advocates complaining about Steinberg's views. I wonder what took them so long.

More World Naked Bike Ride

Even though the ride was many moons ago (hah!), the official pictures from the World Naked Bike Ride in Chicago are now up. If your company has a no nudity policy, then I wouldn't recommend viewing these at the office.

Elevated Chicago art

Elevated Chicago, a collection of images by local artist Robert Smeltzer, is pretty neat. There are a wide variety of styles, and all have that magical El train.

Surreality, Indeed

Chicagoist points out the coming opening of Cereality, a "cereal bar and cafe" that lets customers breakfast on custom combinations of their favorite puffs and flakes. Pajama-wearing "cereologists" will help you. Wonder how long that will take to tank.

New Revol

Ah, another issue of stellar art/design magazine Revol is now online for your viewing pleasure. They've also got some new pins in their store, My favourites would be by killer illustrators KozyNDan and those hot world-peace-goodwill styled ones by Reach. Good stuff coming out of Chicago these days, good stuff.

I Am the Government

The League of Women Voters of Chicago and The Center for Neighborhood Technology have teamed up to create a website geared toward young voters. I Am the Government has some pretty hip stylings with information about voting, watching polls, and DIY Democracy. If you're looking for some information about local and national politics, ch-ch-ch-check it out!

Taxi Stats

Here's an interesting bit of trivia for you: The Hindustan Times reports that 20 percent of Chicago's cabbies are from South Asia. "I'd say the biggest group in Chicago is Pakistani," said John Mohberg, president of the Checker Taxi Association that has 1,200 cabs and 3,000 drivers. "Though right after 9/11 there was some apprehension among drivers, I've seen no long-term effect."

The people have spoken....

...and their results are tallied up in the annual "Best of Chicago" list in this week's Newcity. For best local blog, the Newcity editors picked Claire Zulkey's site, while the audience choice was ..... Gapers Block! Thanks to all who voted for us. You can receive our gratitude in person at tomorrow night's GB get-together at Danny's.

The Great Barista Battle

Man, there's a competition for everything. Baristas all over the region are gearing up for the Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition, happening next Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 2-3) at Fox & Obel, 401 E. Illinois. The event is organized by the Specialty Coffe Association of America and sponsored by Intelligencia -- who just announced the winners of their internal competition on their spiffily redesigned website.

You Are Beautiful: New Work

The people behind You Are Beautiful are doing many many things. Most of all, the installations/public art pieces are always a treat and without further ado: new installations.

The Rambling Gleaner

If there's ever a reason to register for the Tribune's website it's The Rambling Gleaner, Charlie Madigan's online column (they call it a "blog," but it's published once a day and has no permalinks) on the campaign trail. Eric Zorn calls it "some of the best writing you'll see all year under the Tribune banner," and I have to agree.

Old El Stations and Trains, Oh My!

If the history of the El is your bag, the 2004 Chicago-L.org Historic Station Tour is for you. Each year the Tour stops at various stations of architectural and cultural significance, often on equally significant train models. The event is October 17th and carries a $32 cost, but you need to register in advance via this handy PDF.

No RNLU.edu

After months working on a merger of the two schools, Roosevelt University and National-Louis University have scrapped the plan, citing irreconcilable differences. Crain's has more, or you could read the official press release.

There's no such thing as a free car

If you were waiting for a reason to stop feeling jealous of all those Oprah audience members who got free cars, here it is. According to the Sun-Times, the people who received free cars will have to report them as income on their taxes. And because of the value of the cars ($28,500 each), some recipients will be pushed into a higher tax bracket, meaning they'll have to pay a significant percentage of the car's value in taxes. Because of this, some of the craftier recipients are waiting until next year to pick up their cars, so they won't have to deal with the added income for this year. Clever!

The Bloomingdale Trail

You may have heard of NYC's High Line but have you heard of The Bloomingdale Trail? An old freight railway, Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail are trying to turn it into an elevated multi-use public space. Possible uses would be for running, biking, and general recreation. You can read up on the history or go directly to the FAQ or if you live in the Bucktown and surrounding areas, become a member. [Via Fueled by Coffee]

Boston Eyes Chicago Exhibit

The Boston Globe reports on a current exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Garden, titled "Plants in Print: The Age of Botanical Discovery." The reason for the mention all the way in Boston? It turns out the Massachusetts Horticultural Society used to own some of the items in this exhibit. But, facing a looming financial crisis in November 2002, the center sold more than 2,000 rare books and thousands more journals worth $3 million to Chicago (2nd item). The result of this sale is currently on display up in Glencoe through November 7th.

Bid On Our CD!

Ever wonder what James Van Osdol would put on a mix CD? How 'bout Chris Connelly or Bobby Conn? Well, tomorrow night you can find out, sort of. Rock for Kids, a non-profit that provides support, assistance and inspiration to children that are homeless or in need, holds its second annual Music Mixer, a silent auction of mix CDs created by local musicians, deejays, rock critics and others -- including a double disc mix by Andrew and Naz from GB! -- at Smartbar, 3730 N. Clark, from 6pm to 10pm. The trick is, the track listings are hidden, so you have to win (or stand really close to the person who does) to find out what's on each CD. Suggested donation of $5 at the door. Call 312/255-9454 for more info.

Spreading The Flavor, As It Were

Yes, yes, I know it was previously mentioned in this post, but today is the launch of Flavorpill Chicago's inaugural installment. A weekly arts and culture newsletter focusing on more marginalized and niche-oriented events, Flavorpill has already worked its magic in LA, New York, San Fran, and London, so it's nice to hear that we're next in line. Um, have a taste?

Register to vote!

There's only a couple weeks left to register to vote in the upcoming 2004 elections, so please make sure you're registered. You might want to look over this Ask the Librarian article from last February, in which Alice put together a number of informative links to check out, including a link to the Illinois voter registration form. But hurry! The deadline to register is October 5. (You should make sure your registration is postmarked by October 1, if you're sending it in.)

Shooting at State Capitol

A security guard was shot this afternoon at the state Capitol in Springfield. Details are sketchy, but the gunman escaped after the shooting. Governor Rod Blagojevich was not in the building at the time of the incident. See the Tribune or NBC-5 for more details.

Fines for Pot Smokers

Chicago police sargeant Tom Donegan is proposing fines for people caught with "small amounts" of marijuana. Tired of seeing these drug cases dismissed in court, he believes issuing tickets will effectively penalize offenders while raising money for the city. Darien, in DuPage County, already uses a similar system.

Absenter Becomes Photographic

Naz, our friendly neighborhood creative director, has transformed his site, Absenter, into a photoblog. Never fear, fans of his writing -- that remains a part of the site, just moved to text.absenter.org.

Freedom Theatre

Playing French is a new festival of sorts, a series of contemporary French plays organized by the local French Embassy and taking place all over the city in September, October and November. There's quite an interesting lineup, including a play one of our readers is in, "How to Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients," which opens at the Chopin Theatre this Friday.

No, you won't get some antimatter to take home

If you've ever dreamed of seeing the REAL place where the work is done at Fermilab, now's your chance. The Sun-Times reports that The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is going to be offering tours of the accelerator tunnel that is used to make antimatter. The tunnel is undergoing maintenance and upgrades right now, so it's been shut down for 13 weeks. (So the chance that you'll get locked in accidentally and bombarded with antimatter is .... relatively slim.)

Foundation Opens Online Store

Local art space Foundation Gallery has just released a fantastic new online backroom, featuring a variety of previously exhibited work from Bird Machine founder Jay Ryan, Snapcult, Serigraphie Populaire, Sayre Gomez, Nick Butcher, and Dan Grzeca. While you're there, be sure to check out work from their current exhibition, Will Travel: New Paintings by Russ Pope.

Ebert On the Web

Roger Ebert is finally getting the respect he deserves -- with a website of his own. RogerEbert.com is loaded with prety much everything he's ever written, and gives readers the opportunity to rate films themselves. Is it me, though, or does that photo make Roger's face look even more square?

Garden Club

I was at the Wicker Park Farmer's Market last Sunday and started chatting with some of the friendly volunteers from the Wicker Park Garden Club. They have tons of great programs -- helping get kids involved in building gardens as well as helping local gardeners with plant selection, wormboxes, and transforming the fountain in Wicker Park through landscaping. They always have room for volunteers, and are also offering a lecture series this fall that's outta this world (email them for details; they haven't gotten the new lectures up yet.)

Got An Old Cell Phone?

I was shopping around for a new wireless plan today and realized that if I do switch, I'll probably get yet another new phone. Since I don't want to let my old one go to waste, I looked into what can be done with it. Turns out there are places across Illinois where you can donate your old cell phone. The phones are used to benefit victims of domestic violence -- a worthwhile cause indeed.

Rhinoceros Theater Fest

The 16th Rhino Theater Fest begins tonight. The last gasp in their current space for the Curious Theater Branch, the Rhino Fest features a scattered schedule of 17 programs of music, performance, and fringe theatre, stretched from here through November 20. We've added each event to our Slowdown calendar; for a full schedule at-a-glance, click here for a PDF.

DIY Chicago

New City's cover story about the DIY community has some serious Gapers Block ties. Gapers staffer Brenda Janish gets a nod as the founder of Chicago Stitch N Bitch. Also mentioned is the DIY Trunk Show, the brainchild of "One Good Meal" writer Cinnamon Cooper and former staffer Amy Carlton.

Lillstreet Art-A-Thon

Stop by Lillstreet Art Center tonight to create your own piece of art with clay, paint, metal, fiber and more at the 2nd Annual Lillstreet Learning Center Art-A-Thon. A $5 donation will get you entry, food, drink and the DJ stylings of Omar Vera. Family-friendly art activities will cost $5 or $10 each. All donations benefit Lillstreet's outreach program to communities in need. Art-A-Thon is on from 5-10 pm tonight, 4401 N. Ravenswood (Ravenswood and Montrose).

Brunch, Delivered

Chicago Mag's "Dish" column talks up Ritter's Breakfast Delivery, a brand new service bringing brunch to your front door -- assuming you live in or near Wicker Park, Bucktown, Ukrainian Village or West Loop. The somewhat limited menu still gives you plenty to choose from, and you can even order roses!

Big and Green Chicago

Big & Green Chicago: Towards Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century is a recent project from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, highlighting a local commitment to developing buildings which effectively conserve natural resources. Even though the exhibit itself just closed, you can still view a portion of it, entitled Chicago Green, on the CAF website. The gallery is only partially encouraging, however, since most of these projects remain unbuilt.

Got towed? Check online

Ever wonder how you would find your car if it were towed? Fortunately for you Web-surfing types, the Department of Streets and Sanitation has put together a Web interface for their list of towed cars. If your car got towed by The Man, you can check their site to see where it's being stored, and the phone number to call to get it back. Expect to pay either $150 or $250, depending on the size of your vehicle.

En Garde!

If you've ever wanted to challenge someone to a duel, but lacked the sabre skills, you can now brush up on the weekends. The Chicago Athletic Association Fencers Club offers classes for beginners as well as advanced fencers on weeknights and on Saturday and Sunday mornings downtown. Pretty soon, you'll know the difference between an "epee" and a "foil" (hint: it has to do with where you can stick it). [via Daily Candy]

Ranch style wedding

Are you getting married soon? Stressed about what location fits your budget, and your style? Do you get hives everytime you walk into a hotel reception room? Then Catalyst Ranch may be just the thing for you. They're able to accomodate most weddings with either a sit-down dinner or a cocktail/app reception, and their rooms kick-arse! With names like Tango and Cha-Cha, you know your guests will be shaking their groove thing till the cows come home. Check the place out on Sunday when they have a show-and-tell with all their approved vendors.

Genessee Theater

Have you ever thought it might be nice to take a short drive and get away for a weekend and still have great cultural experiences available to you? The city of Waukegan is hoping so. They're spending a lot of money refurbishing the Genessee Theater. They're doing a pretty good job of documenting all the steps they're taking, and they even have a webcam so you can watch it every minute of every day. Can't wait to see what acts they get.

Luminosity

Lumino Magazine is an "entertainment centered" web publication for young adults, based in the Chicago suburbs. They have stories of national interest, like the current interviews with the cast of Revenge of the Nerds, as well as a Midwest focus, with features and concert calendars for Chicago, Milwaukee and Des Moines (Indianapolis will be added next month). Check out the recent story on Mark Prior.

Music Classes on the Cheap

The Graham School at the University of Chicago and the DuSable Museum of African-American History have teamed up to sponsor a couple of great classes at bargain prices open to the general public. The first is on Black Protest Music since 1965 and the second is on South Side Blues and Jazz. Registration closes for the classes in September and October, respectively, so act soon.

Redesigned Reader Hits the Streets

When you pick up The Reader on your way home, the stack will look quite a bit different: the paper's first redesign in ages debuts today, featuring color(!) and a new cover design. Editor Alison True discussed the redesign on WBEZ's Eight Forty-Eight yesterday. (Strangely, there's no mention of it on the Reader website.)

Inspect That Résumé, Why Don't Ya

A 19-year-old building inspector, pulling down a $48,000 salary, quit the post after someone realized that the dates on his résumé didn't add up -- he'd have to have started a four year carpentry apprenticeship at age 13. How'd he get the job? Well, his dad is a high-powered official in the carpenters' union, and...

Big Brother Street Sweeper

In addition to all the other cameras Big Brother... er... Mayor Daley wants to put around the city, he's also proposed putting surveillance cameras on city street sweepers; not for the safety of his constituents, but to catch scofflaws who ignore the "no parking" signs on street-cleaning days.

Everybody's Watching You

In the wake of recent news to install 2,000+ cameras around the city, now comes word that we might be seeing some new surveillance on the L. The CTA is currently looking at bids for 366 new rail cars. Talk includes putting security cameras inside our elevated train cars. The CTA already installs cameras on buses, as part of a plan to curb vandals and criminals.

Speak up! Act up!

The South Asian Progressive Action Coalition is going to be hosting a conference this weekend touching everything from reproductive rights to civil liberties to voter education. The group formed in 2000 to voice activist concerns that combine politics with art for South Asian and Muslim immigrant youth. They kick things off tonight with a show at the Hot House. Spoken word, comedians, and other performances will be interspersed with short political messages geared to this community. Saturday is when the organizing sessions take place. Admission is free, but space is limited.

Chicago, the Card Game(s)

Leave it to the Swedes to name an obscure card game after our fair city. It turns out, however, that there's also a version of bridge called Chicago, as well as a poker variant. (You'd think a bridge game named after the city would have no east position, but alas, it does.)

Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema

Well-regarded by cinephiles, academics and filmmakers alike, Jonathan Rosenbaum (film critic for the Chicago Reader) recently released his latest book, Essential Cinema. Published in April through Johns Hopkins Press, it follows a similar direction to the one he traced with Movie Wars, this time pairing a selection of long-form reviews with an analysis of how Hollywood is effectively deteriorating the concept of film canons. Does Roeper even know what that word means?

Jay-Z Films Video in Elgin

Production crews for rapper Jay-Z were filming a police chase scene in Elgin last night. The footage will reportedly be used in an upcoming music video. Although fans gathered in hopes of catching a glimpse of the recent MTV Music Awards winner, Jay-Z was not present at the shoot.

Chicago Architects Oral History Project

Since 1983, the Art Institute of Chicago has been recording "the life experiences of architects who shaped the physical environment in Chicago and surrounding communities." Complete transcripts from the Chicago Architects Oral History Project, in .pdf format, are available for more than 50 interviews with architects such as Tadao Ando, Stanley Tigerman, Mary Ann Crawford, and many more. All entries include biographical information and interview highlights, and ordering instructions are provided for transcripts not available online.

North Park Drops Price

North Park University is doing the unheard-of: it's cutting tuition by more than 30 percent. The hope is that the lower price will attract more applicants to the small Evangelical Christian college, which ranks among the best in the Midwest according to U.S. News & World Report's annual college survey.

Haymarket Statue Ambiguous?

A memorial to the Haymarket riot of 1886 (now often sanitized as "the Haymarket Affair") was unveiled yesterday. Today, the New York Times calls the statue "ambiguous."

Lock + Pen = Theft

Chicago's bicycle community (and frankly the bicycle community in general) is in a total uproar right now because of the discovery by someone that many Kryptonite U-Locks can be picked with your basic ballpoint pen. Here's the message from the Chicago Critical Mass mailing list that started it all. No clear solutions have been posted yet (greasing the lock seems to help, but it's a sure prevention) and there has been only a lame reaction from Kryptonite despite numerous phone calls.
The original poster started here in this BikeForums.net thread. There are movies and photos in there if you're intrigued. Only two of Kryptonite's locks in their arsenal do not use the cyclindrical chamber lock but most do (the other two use a flat key design). Word on the street from various sources is that there have been reports of Bic pens jammed in locks. Local bike shop owners in Chicago have been debating the issue and seeing what they can do.

We, Robot Builders

Chibots, the Chicago Area Robotics Group, is having their Robot Builders Day Out this Saturday in southern Wisconsin. Robot enthusiasts (of the human variety I take it) of all kinds are encouraged.

Fold - n - Go

Flying to a foreign destination and wish you could take your bike with you? Want to visit a suburban destination on Metra and wish you could peddle those few miles instead of drive? Folding bikes give you freedom and flexibility that many other bikes don't. The Chicagoland Folding Bike Society meets tonight to talk about food, nutrition and cycling as well as, well, obviously folding bikes. Meet other folding bike enthusiasts and drink beer at the Handlebar. Starts at 7pm and runs til 9ish.

An Urban Adventure

Coudal points us to Urban Adventure, a site dedicated to exploration of places people don't normally get to visit. There are a couple Chicagoland features: a semi-abandoned mental hospital in downstate Manteno and Dixie Square Mall, the one the Blues Brothers drove through in the movie. (More about Dixie Square here at DeadMalls.com.)

Spamalot Tickets on Sale

Get your Spamalot now! Tickets went on sale today for Eric Idle's world-premiere musical "Spamalot" based on the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." The production is set to open December 21, and runs until January 16, 2005 at the Shubert Theatre downtown. We've talked about this before here, and here. Tickets can be bought via the usual venues, including Ticketmaster, and range from $23 to $73.

IKEA Bolingbröök

IKEA broke ground yesterday for its second Chicagoland store in Bolingbrook. The new store will be built on 21 acres, have 1,300 parking spaces and will cover 310,000 square feet. It won't open until Fall 2005, so we city dwellers have plenty of time to figure out where the h*ll Bolingbrook is, and if it's any closer to us than the Schaumburg store (which, you know, is not close at all).

Local Prof Gets Playboy Nod

The king of ladmags has recognized Dr. Rachel Shteir's upcoming book Grit, Glamour, and the Grind: A History of Striptease with three-and-a-half bunnies! Shteir is head of Dramaturgy at DePaul University. Look for her book in stores soon.

Stand up and Revol now!

A new-ish online magazine (in that oh so trendy pseudo magazine rendered in Flash style), Revol looks to be a keeper. Co-produced by a sister in Chicago and a brother in LA, they've got three issues up for your enjoyment and the newest one — a mixture of found objects, collages, stellar photography and miscellany — is perfect to wake you up a little bit this morning. It even features one of our faves, Brian Ulrich who's popping up all over the place (hint: he's got a feature in the new issue of Subsystence) As they say on their site, "Keeping up the fight."

South Side Marlins?

The World Champion Florida Marlins are spending some quality time in Chicago. For a few days this week, the Marlins are setting up shop down in U.S. Cellular field. Hurricane Ivan, dubbed "Pudge" after the former Marlins catcher, has forced the team to find a home field elsewhere. Seeing as the White Sox had some away games, and the Marlins just came to town to play a series against the Cubs, MLB put a plan into high gear. Tickets to the games are $15 at the box office, with $5 going to hurricane relief. The seats are first come, first served, which offers casual baseball fans a nice opportunity to see some great ball. One more game today at 1:05 CST for anyone looking to spend these last few warm days taking in some great baseball for a good cause.

Estrojam in Town

Estrojam, a week-long festival of women in music, art, and film, takes over Chicago September 20-26. Events are held at venues all over town, from Schuba's to the Hot House and feature top female performers like Cathy Richardson, Northern State, and the Butchies. Be sure to check out the headlining show: the Gossip with Pretty Girls Make Graves, burlesque divas Hellcat Hussies, and the Lickity Split Radical Cheerleaders. Get more info and check out the complete schedule.

Bike Fall, Bike Winter!

The sun's starting to set a little early and the kids are back in school. And while you hardly need an excuse to Bike Fall, you might need a little motivation to Bike Winter. Bike Winter is a site that provides lots of info on how to dress for cycling when it is cold out, as well as staging lots of events. Things officially get started on Oct 1st, but the planning is happening now if you'd like to lend a hand to make Chicago the best city in the US for bicycles.

Obit: Lu Palmer

Lu Palmer, the journalist and activist whose 50-plus year career included working at Chicago newspapers such as the Daily News and the Chicago American, died at the age of 82 in his Chicago home on Sunday. A name synonymous with the black power movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Palmer also championed Harold Washington for the Chicago mayor race in the early 1980s. For Washington's campaign he coined the slogan, "We Shall See in '83".

Aaron Hawkins Remembered

Further coverage of Aaron Hawkins' death:
- Red Herring obituary
- AllAboutGeorge remembers his friend, starting here
- A powerful reflection from Sour Bob
Pay your respects in the comments here on Uppity-Negro.

Oprah shares the wealth

One good reason to go to an Oprah Winfrey show taping: you might get some free stuff. The audience for the premiere show of her 19th season, for example, was surprised when Oprah handed out a new car to everyone. The cars were donated by Pontiac.

I Nominate Pepsi Blue

Gov. Blagojevich is considering a proposal to somehow sell the right to be called Illinois' Official State Beverage -- provided it's non-alcoholic. This would be the first Official State Anything decided by registered check instead of congressional vote, but hey, anything to raise cash, I guess. (The Trib wants to hear your suggestions for state drink -- post'em here.)

You're Such a Flirt

Unfortunately, you're not very good at it. Which is why you should head to FLIRT, 3449 N. Southport, this Thursday 7-9pm to see Jill Spiegel, author and self-proclaimed "flirtologist." She'll be giving a talk on flirting, and if you're lucky she'll also give you some one-on-one advice.

Subsystence, Vol 3. out now!

Our friends at Subsystence have launched a new volume of their excellent web presence. Their events section (on the home page) is well worth checking out for quality stuff you may not have heard of around the city, and who doesn't like free downloads? I may be biased but the two photo exhibits, Copia and China in Polaroid kick a$$.

Snapshot School

Tired of digital? Looking to take your film pictures to a new level? Chicago Photography Center classes start this week. If you've never had the chance to develop your own black and white photos, this is a great way to get started.

If you want to see your mate nipply nipple, just turn it hight and watch them blow away

Perusing the Craigslist For Sale ads, I came across this site by a fellow in Deerfield who's auctioning off his stuff; he's moving to Japan. The descriptions! I bust a gut.

The A-maze-ing Race

Looking for some oddball entertainment this weekend? How 'bout an election themed corn maze? Fairwyn Farms up near Lake Geneva has skipped their usual Bears-Packers theme and instead pit Kerry vs. Bush, each riding the appropriate party animal. It's $7 per person to do one half (assumably divided along party lines), or $10 for both.

Chicago: Flower-Power Model?

Who would ever predict that the city that spawned the birth of flower-power in the late 1960s, would come to admire and model itself after our city? San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome is one convert. When he ran for office last year, he committed himself to creating a vision of his city following the success of our Mayor's various green initiatives. Most noticable, the many ways Chicago incorporates flowers into daily life, including "hanging baskets attached to alleyway lampposts, planted in the median strips of busy thoroughfares, and in decorative boxes and sidewalk gardens in front of businesses and apartment buildings." Mayor Daley achieved this by requiring developers to install landscaping around properties and on the public right-of-way.

This Area Being Monitored

Mayor Daley's plan to link more than 2,000 surveillance cameras across Chicago to the city's 911 center is making headlines around the country today. According to some reports, Daley thinks Chicagoans "will love" the new surveillance system.

Barenboim to Miss CSO Start

Daniel Barenboim is recovering in Germany from back and neck problems that will force him to miss his first four performances conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this season. Andrew Davis, the music director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, will reportedly be filling in. The new season starts tonight with an event celebrating the 100th season of Orchestra Hall.

Flickr-ing City

Flickr is a great web tool to share photos -- of Chicago, for instance. Or Wicker Park, Lakeview or just Illinois in general.

CST dominates Jeff noms

The nominations for the 2004 Joseph Jefferson Awards were announced this afternoon. The Jeffs recognize achievement by Chicago-area Equity theatres. Chicago Shakespeare Theater leads the pack by a long run with 25 nominations for six shows; six noms are for Rose Rage, the marathon adaptation of Henry VI, which opens a New York run next week.

Narcoleptic Commuters Beware

John Kass, Tribune columnist, writes today about an IIT chemical engineering grad student who was fined recently for sleeping on the CTA. When he had to be awakened by police at the end of the Orange line, the officers lectured him about CTA safety and issued him a $50 ticket for sleeping on the train -- a legitimate offense in the CTA rule book (who knew?). Kass offered to pay the man's fine if he loses his bid to contest the ticket in court, but everyone else is on their own.

Kids Love School

The campaign to increase attendence at Chicago's public schools apparently paid off. According to officials, 91 percent of students attended the first day of school on Tuesday. Excellent! Everyone gets a gold star.

"Art at War -- The Artist's Voice" Opening

Aldo Castillo is a Chicago artist and gallery owner who decided to formulate a response to war. Not just the present war in Iraq, but all war in general. A native of Nicaragua, Castillo holds strong feelings of the U.S.-backed interventions in his homeland. All of these feelings led to the creation of "Art at War -- the Artist's Voice," an exhibit of approximately 120 paintings and sculptures by nearly 100 artists from 23 countries, opening this Saturday, the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, at the Aldo Castillo Gallery (233 W. Huron). The exhibit runs through October 16th.

Newberry Seminars

If you're itching to buy a new binder and some #2 pencils, you can get back into the swing of learning new things by signing up for one of the Newberry Library's more than 60 fall seminars. Classes range from "Newberry a la Cart" to classes on literature, genealogy, religion and even writing workshops. Spaces do tend to go quickly, and the first classes begin on September 21, so sign up soon.

Bike to O'Hare

Ever wonder how you can get to O'Hare by non-motorized means? With the acres and acres of parking and garages, you might wonder if the planning department ever figured someone might walk or bike to the airport. (Answer: No.) But here's the story of how to ride your bike to O'Hare without taking the CTA or Pace. Summary: it ain't easy, and you have to pretend you're a taxi for a little bit.

Lyric Opera Costume Sale

The costume rooms at the Lyric Opera are any child's Halloween dream. An entire room of fake armor, cannons, giant heads and clothes, clothes, clothes. Word about town is that the opera is having a sale at its warehouse in October. October 9th is reserved for schools and local theaters by appointment only; October 10th and 11th the sale is open to the public from 1-4pm and held at the Lyric's warehouse at 26th and Dearborn (2559 S. Dearborn).

Aaron Hawkins, RIP

We just received word that Aaron Hawkins, author of the Uppity Negro weblog, has passed away. No funeral plans have been announced yet; if you are interested in more information, please email trancejen@gmail.com. UPDATE: Here's more info, on Trance Jen's site.

Mourning Iraq war casualties

Moveon.org is sponsoring candlelight vigils across the country to mourn the 1,000 soldiers who have died in Iraq. The Chicago vigil is starting at 8pm and will last about 45 minutes at Cricket Hill (near Montrose Harbor). There is a vigil happening in Oak Park too.

Bikes + Theater = Spectacle!

Word on the street is that Critical Mass, the bicycle ride that takes place on the last Friday of the month, is going to hit the South Side this month in time for Redmoon Theater's outdoor spectacle Sink Sank Sunk in Chinatown. What's in store? A full chorus. A lantern and fire procession. And of course a performance. Not your usual Friday night (though the theater performance will also take place on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday).

Everybody Promenade

Grab your partner and swing on over to Chicagoland Square Dance for a complete list of square dancing resources for the Chicago area. Check out their calendar of dances, square dancing clubs in the city, and find out where to buy the appropriate attire. And if you don't know your Allemande Left from your Allemande Right, take a look at their schedule of square dancing lessons. Let's Dosado!

There is another bagel directly behind this one

Dunkin' Donuts has opened two concession stands in two separate El stations (the Western Avenue blue line stop, and the Lake & Cicero green line stop) and have plans to open 10 more stores by the end of the year. Even better, additions to the El stations will include more than just snack shops; the CTA will be adding newspaper stands, photo processing and shoe repair stands and express mail stores at 33 separate stations.

Kiser, RIP

Following up on our mention of a Red Line death last month, it turns out the victim was Kiser, a well-known graffiti artist. The Tribune has a profile of him today, and the CTA Tattler's post on the incident garnered some passionate rememberances in the comments. There's also at least one tribute image out there.

Chicago Bang Bang

Meet real mobsters' kids, pretend mobsters and the people who obsess about mobsters at the Golden Age of Gangsters Convention this weekend in Itasca. This event is open to the public and will feature tons of gangster memorabilia, descendents of famous mobsters Capone and Giancana, actors Joe Gannascoli and John Fiore from "The Sopranos," special displays about the St. Valentine's Massacre and The Prohibition years, a guided tour of Chicago gangster history, and several historians and authors who have made gangster history their life's work. Friday-Sunday, Holiday Inn in Itasca. Admission is $15 per day or $40 for the weekend.

For the Birds

For the Birds: An Amazing Exhibition of Bird Houses has been showing at the Clark House Museum, Chicago's oldest home, since June, and will end October 15th. What is it exactly? More than 100 bird -- and bat -- houses designed by Chicago artists and renowned architects, including honorary Chicagoan Frank Gehry.

Archinect Schoolblog Project

Archinect, a long standing site for smart architectural talk, news and features recently started a new endeavor: The Schoolblog Project. Culling architectural students from 38 universities around the world, they goal is to provide a look at student life for the Fall 2004 semester. Angana Shah, a 2nd Year student is our representative from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Follow her academic journey by reading along.

How would Jesus vote?

It's been a few days since the last "Alan Keyes says something strange" story, so here's the one for this week: according to a list of Keyes quotes put together by Barack Obama's campaign team, Keyes said at the RNC last week that Jesus Christ would not vote for Obama, because of his pro-choice stance. Keyes also analyzed a quote from Obama, in which Obama said that he wanted to win big to give Keyes a "spanking," and surmised that Obama's use of the word "spanking" was somehow related to slavery and was insulting to African Americans.

Map Yer Blog

The Chicagobloggers blog map is finally taking submissions again, after a too-long hiatus. Check in there for the blog nearest you, or add your own to the map. (Thanks, Michael!)

Summer days, drifting away...

As the screaming children outside my window can attest, today's the first day of classes for Chicago Public Schools. This year the school district set up a Back to School website, with information on enrollment options, lists of school supplies, and other crucial stuff for kids and parents, as part of the ongoing campaign to increase first-day attendance, which hit an all-time high of 89 percent last year.

Fancy a BLT?

While not of the bacon, lettuce and tomato kind, the BLT aka The Boulevard Lakefront Tour is brought to you by the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. From the site: "Join us for the 16th Annual Boulevard Lakefront Tour! One of Chicago's favorite bike rides, the BLT explores our great city's 'emerald necklace' — the parks, boulevards and historic places on the South and West Sides." It goes down this Sunday, September 12th and registration is still open. Your choice of 10 mile or 35 mile ride. How many people did this last year? Over 2,200.

Book and Paper Arts

The fall class schedule for Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts has been posted online. The Center offers excellent classes in papermaking, bookbinding, letterpress and photography. Most classes are starting up in early october with limited space so sign up now!

No-Kill Catch-22

Beginning this November, the Anti-Cruelty Society — a non-profit, privately-funded animal shelter — will no longer euthanize unadoptable animals. Instead, it will transfer all strays to city shelters, who will return healthy, adoptable animals after 5 days and euthanize the rest. While the ACS believes the new policy is more humane and will allow them to adopt out more animals, Chicago Animal Care and Control believes the strays will overload their system and force them to euthanize more animals more often. One thing we can do to help both parties: spay and neuter our pets!

We're off to whatever, everland

Friend of GB, regular contributor to Rearview and stunning photographer Archie Florcruz launches his personal photo site, Whateverland. Designed by him, built by me and for you to look at. With photos like these here, here and here, it's time for less talk and more gawk.

Chicago's Only Rock'n'Roll Publication

The Crutch comes out every other month-ish, and the newest issue just appeared near the door of a record store near you. It's got interviews with the French Kicks, Rogue Wave and the Immortal Lee County Killers, and reviews of all the hip new albums the kids are listening to these days. Oh, and check out the mp3 page, too.

Neo-Preview Party: you're invited!

The Neo-Futurists begin their 2004-2005 prime time season at the end of next week with an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland stories, and to celebrate this first show they're throwing a party on Sunday, September 12th. You'll see a preview of "Alice" and other upcoming works, get a backstage tour of the Neo-Futurarium, and have a chance to mingle with the Neo-Futurists as you sample the finest culinary delights that an independent Chicago theater company can afford to purchase! Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors), and can be purchased at the Neo-Futurist Website.

Chicago Rap Artist Hurt in Fatal Accident

Twista, the Chicago rapper known for his ultra-quick flow and rise to the top of the charts, was hurt in a fatal van crash that killed a member of his security staff. The artist was treated and released from Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie, PA after his van crashed on Interstate 90 just after 4 a.m. Monday. The van was headed from Syracuse, N.Y. to Chicago when the crash occurred, and police are investigating how the van veered off the road and then rolled over.

Are we there yet?

The Chicago-Indiana area ranks 8th in a list of the longest commutes in the country, according to a new study by the Texas Transportation Institute. Ranked at #1: Los Angeles (surprise!), with an average of 93 hours spent in traffic during the year 2002. Also ranking high on the list: San Francisco-Oakland (73 hours) and Washington DC (67 hours). Chicago's average was 56 hours, which sounds pretty bad until you consider that you could be living in LA and spending even more time stuck in traffic.

A fondness of beaches:

As the summer of 2004 slowly fades into memory, we Chicagoans would be wise to remember our beaches. According to the Christian Science Monitor: "It's not Hawaii, but to city dwellers, the 25 miles of shoreline are consolation for long, cold winters, and offer a microcosm of the city itself."

Scoot!

If you see a swarm of people on Vespas headed your way this weekend, don't be alarmed -- it's just Slaughterhouse 10, the 10th annual scooterfest thrown by the Second to Last Scooter Club (where'd your site go, guys?). Hit the Hideout tonight at 9pm for a DJ set by 2Stroke Buzz.

Choose Your Own Thursday Night

Sixosix Magazine takes us back to childhood with a Choose Your Own Adventure tale of a Thursday night on the town. Plus, things you should do, but don't.

Wine-y City

Want to learn more about wine? Perhaps the Chicago Wine School is for you. Just looking for a wine tasting? Check out LocalWineEvents.com's calendar of events in the Chicagoland area.

Movin' on up in Uptown

If someone told you that there was a gay sports bar, in Uptown, that served "Beergaritas," would you believe it? Eight TVs of different sports and what could be one of the best sets of bathrooms in Chicago -- the Greg Louganis or Billie Jean King bathrooms.

Northerly Island opens!

A little behind schedule, but without much fanfare, Northerly Island has opened to the public. (You be more familiar with Northerly Island under its previous name, Meigs Field.) There's not much in the 90-acre park right now (the main feature is an asphalt running track), but plans to build more (oh, so much more) on the site are already under way.

Vote Early, Vote Often

New City's Best Of Chicago Poll is now open. Start formulating your choices in such categories as Best Burgers, Best Place to Hold a Mike Ryan Party, Best New Boutique and Best Next Career Step for Alan Keyes. (And hey, if Chicagoist can do it, we can, too: Vote for GB as Best Local Blog!)

Chicago, City of Trees

The city is really getting serious about making our humble burgh a greener place. If you call 311 and request it, they'll put a tree in front of your house for free. The city's CityTrees website has info on this program as well as how to get free perennials, pictures of the trees they suggest, and information about their care and upkeep. Urbs in Horto, man, Urbs in Horto.

When You Run Out of Blue Bags

Got more to recycle than will fit in your common blue bag? Here's a list of recycling centers around the city where you can drop off those old phonebooks, gratis.

GB on LJ

Did You Know: If you've got a LiveJournal, you can syndicate Gapers Block's Merge section(the thing you're reading right now) by adding us to your friends list.

Need a complete Voter Guide?

If so, take a look at this. Get educated, get registered and make a decision about who you want in office.

North Beach Spikes

The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour hits North Avenue Beach today, featuring Olympic gold medalists Misty May and Kerri Walsh and six other Olympic players. The tournament runs through Monday, with the women's final at 11:30am Sunday and men's final at 1:30pm Monday (after May and Walsh's performance last week, maybe they should switch that around). Free general admission tonight and tomorrow, tickets are $10 for Saturday and Sunday (no word about Monday). Also, you can party with the players Saturday night at Duffy's, 422 W. Diversey, from 8:30-11:30pm for just $20, booze and food included. Score!

Great American Shout Out

You've no doubt heard about Al Franken's idea for Dems around the country to yell “fuggedaboudit!” tonight when Dubya takes the podium at the RNC, around 9 p.m. CST. If you want to shout out, you can visit thegreatamericanshoutout.org to find group primal scream gatherings around the Chicago area, or you can sign up to write about your experience later if you decide to go it solo.

Chicago Jazz Festival opening night

But don't go to Grant Park for tonight's opening show in the festival! It's at Symphony Center, and it's a salute to the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra by singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, who performed with the orchestra from 1972 to 1974. Check the Symphony Center site for info on tonight's event, and for a complete Jazz Festival schedule check out the Reader's coverage.

Flavorpill For You

The cognoscenti have already heard of Flavorpill, the weekly "email magazine covering a handpicked selection of music, art, and cultural events." Until now, we've had to envy other city's flavorpills, but starting September 21, Chicago gets a 'Pill of its own! Hipsters rejoice!

MODERN + DESIGN + FUNCTION

Ten by Ten and Design Within Reach are joining forces to promote emerging Chicago designers! Local designers are encouraged to submit entries for MODERN + DESIGN + FUNCTION: Chicago Furniture Now, by Friday October 2. There will be a $25 entry fee and each piece must be functional and able to be constructed within the alloted time span. There will be a juried exhibition December 9th . Winning entries will be featured on the Ten by Ten website and the March 2005 issue of the print magazine. Visit www.tenbyten.net in the coming weeks for more details and complete rules.

That Ian, Suspended

This would have gone in the old Cool as F@#k category we used to have. A quick disclaimer: the following linked URLs lead to mature content and is not for the weak of heart. That said, it's pretty damn impressive. Some of you may know him as "That Ian" around here. Ian's posted a well-done and remarkable video of himself getting suspended. By the knees. With hooks. Like a gapers block, we want to look away but just can't. Fascinating. Oh, and Ian is quite OK; he wrote back to me, "I'm bulletproof." But he also says "...this should never be attempted."

I did it, guilty as charged.

McSweeney's delivers with "Dave Matthews Band Lyrics That Take On New Meaning in Light of the Recent Brouhaha surrounding One of the Band's Bus Drivers, Who Allegedly Dumped the Contents of the Excrement Tank Off of a Chicago River Bridge and Onto the Deck of a Tour Boat."

Your Senators at Work

(It's Politics Wednesday on GB today, apparently.) The Illinois State Senate will soon be broadcasting its proceedings live on the Internet, following a positive response to the current streaming audio feed. I wonder if that webcam City Council was planning ever got installed...

Blogging the RNC

Like the Democrats, the Republicans invited a handful of bloggers to come cover their convention. Our local representative is Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics; the full list is right here. You could also read the Tribune's "blogs" by Ellen Warren, Charlie Madigan and Mike Tackett.

What do you wanna be when you grow up?

Everybody loves firefighters. Little girls and boys turn a cardboard box and a stuffed toy into a firetruck. Some big girls and boys have different steamy thoughts when they pass a firehouse. And because of the history of large-scale fires in Chicago they deserve our reverence. But they also deserve a monument. A group made up of mostly firefighters is set to break ground for the monument before the end of the month and they could use a little support. They're only $49,000 short and all donations are tax-deductible.

Illinois GOP delegates livin' large in NYC

Illinois can't be confused with being a swing state. On all the political maps it's pointed toward the Democrats for national votes. But somehow, Illinois delegates to the Republican National Convention managed to get into a great hotel. Crain's Chicago Business writes that it has nothing to do with the importance of your vote, but the importance of who you know, and maybe even who owes you a favor. Normally Illinois delegates are relegated to the motels in the hinterlands by both parties, but not this year. Enjoy those plush bathrobes while you can, folks.

Howard Dean at Loyola

Former Vermont governor and presidential hopeful Howard Dean will be speaking tonight at Loyola University Chicago. The title of his talk is "The Implications of the Presidential Election 2004." The event takes place at the Mundelein Center Auditorium at Loyola's Lakeshore Campus. Admission is free with a Loyola I.D. or a mere $5 for the public. Dean will also be signing copies of his new book after the talk.

Oh, that Alan!

US Senate hopeful (and Calumet City resident) Alan Keyes, in NYC for the Republican National Convention, criticized Dick Cheney for recent comments that Cheney made about Mary Cheney, his gay daughter. Illinois Republican Party Chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka said that Keyes' remarks should not distract people from the key election issues, while Senator John McCain offered a more candid evaluation of Keyes' chances in November: "I think it's clear we lose Illinois."

 

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