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.
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TODAY

Sunday, August 7

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Alderman cracks down on illegal Cubs parking

As a former resident of Wrigleyville, I was gladdened to see that Tom Tunney is looking into the problem of Cubs fans illegally buying residential parking permit stickers so that they can park on the streets during night games. The parking over there is bad enough as it is!

Citizen Norman

Coudal points us to an interview with JJ Jameson/Norman Porter, the Chicago poet whose previous life as a murderer came to light with his arrest a couple weeks ago. "I'm not the animal they are portraying me as," he said. "I'm a citizen now, that's what I am."

Vespine Studio

Getting one's artwork out there can be rough. I'm fond of visiting Vespine, a studio and gallery in the Pilsen arts area which usually has some stellar photography work. A visit to their website turns up some interesting methods of working: they take no commission on sales but they do ask the artist to pay a fee (two types consisting of basic and premium) for showing their work and arranging all the refreshments on opening night. The Basic plan gets you a month with three days a week open to the public for $250 — a decent deal. For $400, you get bumped up to the Premium plan which gets you 10 bottles of wine (I hope this isn't Charles Shaw) and you can negotiate extra hours if need be.

Learn About Thai Food

Sìlàpaahãan is a new site "intended to be a repository of information on the various aspects of Thai cuisine, with a distinct emphasis on the culinary arts and cultures as they are practised in our adopted home town, Chicago." There's translated menus and photos, with more promised.

Chicago Force Tackles New Season Head On

The Chicago Force is ready to make their 3rd season a winner, just like their previous two. If you wanna see a winning sports team in Chicago, head down to St. Rita's High School (79th and Western) this Saturday at 3pm. After the game you can head over to Hedgehogs (6915 Pershing Road, Stickney, Il) for a beer or glass of white wine with the team. If you can't make it to the game, you'll be able to get a webcast of the game at 7:30.

The Obama Blog

Barack Obama followers can now get their fix by reading Obama's new U.S. Senate blog. Woo hoo! (found via Eric Zorn)

Qualityround

Friend Susan Evenson creates some really nice things, most notably her paintings speak a lot of good things to me, mostly of a whimsical, inspiring and resonating nature. I'm particularly taken by "Before You Go" and I get a delightful kick out of "Shy".

Lies and Dolls

About 70 students from Pilsen area schools went to Michigan Avenue yesterday to protest the story behind the Marisol Luna doll sold at American Girl Place. The story behind the doll tells of a family who leaves the Pilsen neighborhood and goes to Des Plaines. The students complained that the story misrepresents the Pilsen neighborhood. If you want to follow in U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez's tracks and send a letter of complaint to Mattel here's the address.

What's bakin'

There's a new baking blog in Chicago: Part-time Pro Bono Baker. The site discusses all things relating to baked goods, and has two different people that do bakery reviews (via KIPlog).

A Blow to the Singles Phone Chat Services

Bond has been denied for two women who lured two guys whom they talked to on a telephone dating chat line to their apartment -- where their boyfriends ordered them to strip at gunpoint as they taped their eyes and mouths shut and tied their arms with shoelaces. A firefight occurred Sunday night when one victim escaped and a boyfriend shot him in the street; an off-duty rail policeman witnessed it, then an off-duty Chicago police officer drove by and assisted. The women were charged with kidnapping and murder, and the other boyfriend is still at large. Apparently they had done it at least once before.

Get your glowsticks ready

Lollapalooza, the touring summer music festival started in the 1990s, will be back this summer. But there's only going to be one date, and that's July 23-24 at Grant Park in Chicago. The festival's Website will be up on Friday, and the band lineup will be announced in April.

Get on the Bus

The CTA's train system gets plenty of attention online, via Chicago-L.org, This Is Grand, the CTA Tattler, etc. Meanwhile, the CTA buses have been ignored. Well, not anymore: ChicagoBus.org is your new one-stop site for all things bus. You may be particularly interested in the multimedia page, containing .wav files of your favorite announcements.

Traffic Snarls

The highways got even more congested than normal this morning thanks to several accidents happening at once. On the Kennedy, four cars, a semi and a bus collided, closing three inbound lanes for hours; another crash brought power lines down onto the Indiana Tollway and halted South Shore Line service; and reader Jeremy wrote in to report a semi got stuck under the Metra tracks near Damen and Webster on the Dan Ryan, gumming up traffic in that area -- Chicagoist says the semi's load of Spam and canned mushrooms was spilled all over the road. Not to mention the nice weather bringing on the start of Construction Season... hope you got to work on time.

Star and Garter Burlesque

Looking for somthing sexy to do tomorrow night? Lavender Cabaret star Michelle L'Amour and her gang of lovelies will be at Subterranean for Star and Garter Burlesque. A whole evening of burlesque revival--for just $5. Subterranean is located at 2011 W. North Avenue at Chicago.

Neil Gaiman at U of C

Today, tickets went on sale for Neil Gaiman's upcoming appearance at the University of Chicago in their Presidential Fellows in the Arts series. There will be a discussion and a book signing and those with tickets will be able to purchase the author's books as well as meet him. Tickets are $15 for general, $5 with valid U of C ID and can be obtained by phone (773-702-8080), email (concert-office[at]uchicago.edu), or at 5720 S. Woodlawn Ave. Check out Slowdown for more info. Get your tickets early because this promises to be an all out geek fest. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Chicago Tests a Craig's List Competitor

Everybody wants to tap into the success of Craig's List with online classifieds. This, of course, benefits us as competition creates innovation. The latest salvo is Oodle, which is testing a localized version of its service here in Chicago. Try it out at chicago.oodle.com.

Billy Goat Goes National

Billy Goat Tavern is crawling out from under the Michigan Avenue Bridge and heading to Washington, D.C. -- and that's just the beginning. Crain's reports that owner Sam Sianis is planning a San Diego outpost and would like to colonize New York as well, possibly even franchizing the greasy burgers made famous by a Saturday Night Live skit.

Aerial Maps of Chicago

In spring of 2004, the city did a fly-by and took low-level shots of the whole city. The level of detail is astonishing: when blow up to a super-high resolution, I could see the outline of the flower beds in my backyard. Wrigley Field is there, as is Sears Tower. Of course, some of the older industrial sites are great too. (via westnorth)

Riviera makes a Glorious Noise

Our close personal friend Jake Brown from Glorious Noise alerted us to the imminent release of the latest CD on Glorious Noise Records: the first full-length album by Chicago band Riviera. The CD is officially released on April 5, but there's going to be a CD release party this Saturday night at Schubas. See Slowdown for full details.

F Stop by Stop

Matt Peck rode the Red Line from Howard down to 95th and back up, taking photos at every stop -- and you can follow along in this Flickr slideshow.

You might also be interested in a similar project, on the Blue Line, by GB staffer Jes Davis, which appeared in the now-defunct No East (the accompanying audio from Alicia Franz is no longer online).

Ongoing Saga of Albany Park Day Laborers

The unending saga of the Albany Park day laborers has recently taken a turn for the better. After having their usual spot busted up in 2003, many of the laborers still meet across the street. But now there's another option: the recently opened Centro de Trabajo de Albany Park. Located on Elston away from the older spot at Argyle and Pulaski (as well as some of the other common spots on Lawerence), it aims to provide shelter and opportunities for the laborers. A great article about it in The Chicago Reporter gives all the details.

Look at Art, Eat Peeps

It's Friday, Good Friday to be exact, and not much is going on in the office. What better way to pass the time than by perusing the School of the Art Institute's student websites? Well, one way would be to check out Peeply Field.

Hedgehog blog

As odd as it seems, Chicago blogger Brandy Agerbeck seems to be the first person to create a blog specifically about her hedgehog. It's named Numo, not Ron Jeremy. It loves playing with toilet paper rolls. And she won't let my cats come visit.

Embezzler Speaks to the Dead

News broke this week about Vincent Iaccino, who's been accused of embezzling $300,000 from Cicero while he published the town's newsletter. Carol Marin reports in the Sun-Times today that Iaccino has a colorful past of making up news and quoting dead people.

Cap the Ike

Could the Chicago area get its own version of The Big Dig? While the expressway wouldn't go underwater, a panel is studying the fesability of capping the Ike between Harlem and Austin. The new land would be used for parks, buildings, and - I'm guessing here - at least one Starbucks. Three variations of the plan are shown in map form (1, 2, 3.) This all may be several years off, but seeing more green is something to look forward to.

Everyone has someone to hate them

LizWatch may have moved on to other topics without ridding the world of Liz Armstrong, but now there's another snarky, anonymous blog with a wider focus on the city's predominant free weekly: The Reader Sucks. In their first post this week, they passed on Crain's reporting that the Reader's circulation dropped for the sixth consecutive year.

"I've Had a Good 20 Years"

Friend of GB Luke happened to take a couple photos of poet/fugitive murderer JJ Jameson/Norman Porter at last year's Bughouse Square Debates.

Rx Website Fight

You remember the whole prescription drug battle Gov. Blagojevich started when he got into office? The state launched a site, I-SaveRx, where you could sign up for cheaper drugs. Now that the publicity has died down, the drug industry is quietly fighting back with TV commercials for Rx4Illinois, a site where Illinois residents can search for "patient assistance" plans that give prescription discounts direct from the manufacturers.

Dolan Geiman back in Chicago

I've been keeping track of Dolan Geiman's work ever since I purchased two pieces from him outside of Earwax a few summers ago, in a makeshift shop he set up on the street out of a vintage suitcase. After setting up shop successfully in Pilsen, Geiman and crew decided to up and try their hand at New York. After that stint, the word is that he's back in the city he loves doing what he does best. Which is a lot. Take a look.

Ride Bikes, Help Naz

Tomorrow at 5:30pm, this month's Critical Mass ride gets started from Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn. The ride will wind its way through the North Side up to Konak, where we're holding our monthly GB Get-Together starting at 9pm. Chicago Critical Mass is also raising money to help Naz with his medical bills following his biking accident two weeks ago; check the site for details.

Pat O'Malley, I Love You!!!

Pat O'Malley has a posse ...of one. Republican cheerleader Krystle Russin, investigated a bit by our own RC, has created a fan site for the former Republican senator and gubernatoral candidate, perhaps to help persuade him to go up against Judy Barr Topinka in next year's race.

Blogging from the bookstore

I'm completely biased when it comes to Women & Children First. I love the bookstore, the location, their bookclubs, their activism, their buyers. But sometimes I don't get to visit as often as I'd like. Now, in a virtual kinda way, I can peek in on them even when I'm at work (not that I would *ahem* surf on company time). They now have a blog and it seems like everyone on staff can post on it.

Ana Gasteyer will get you, my pretty

Playbill is reporting some casting news for that Chicago production of Wicked: SNL star (and Northwestern alumna) Ana Gasteyer will put on the green makeup as the title character. Steppenwolf ensemble member Rondi Reed and multiple Jeff-winner Gene Weygandt, both familiar faces around the city, take on two of the secondary leads. Tickets for the permanent cast, which starts June 24, go on sale April 4.

Home Coffee Roasting

A relatively new local food blog, Chicago Foodies, offers a relatively novel way to roast your own coffee at home: Find a hot air popcorn popper, grab an extension cord and head outside. He got his green beans from a local store, but you could also order them from Intelligentsia.

Pill Protest

On Tuesday, nearly 100 people gathered outside a Loop Osco Drug to protest against a pharmacist who had been refusing to fill birth control prescriptions for customers. Planned Parenthood, which organized the gathering, said that there are many such incidences of women turned away by pharmacists with particular religious beliefs, but most go unreported.

Apple Bites

We're big fans of Apple here at GB, but there's a dark side to the lovable computer company: Crain's reports that local independent Mac retailers are getting killed by the four area Apple stores.

Beyond the Machine

This Thursday, March 24, a diverse array of Chicago promoters team up to present an evening of abstract techno and forward-thinking house. Featuring live performances from globe-trotting artists such as Windsor-based producer Echoplex, German musician and label owner Andy Vaz, as well as Chicago's very own Warmdesk, this will be a refreshingly varied dance music showcase. Local favorites Josh Werner and Dave Siska open. More information is available in Slowdown, or on the Smart Bar website.

Poet with the Double Life

In 1985, Norman Porter, a twice-convicted murderer, casually escaped from a Massachusetts prison and became a most-wanted felon. He was apprehended yesterday, some 20 years later, after authorities recognized him as local poet and anti-war activist J.J. Jameson -- who had just recently been named ChicagoPoetry.com's poet of the month. Multiple news outlets are bending over backwards to make a lame "poetic justice" headline stick, but it's a pretty remarkable story, nonetheless. Jameson's comment as he was arrested at a local church: "I've had a good 20 years."

INTNM Tour

Whether you're in Chicago and wondering when Wendy will start giving readings in the city, or you're an ersatz Chicagoan/fan of Wendy who's looking to see her in a bookstore near you, the author of I'm Not the New Me has posted preliminary dates for her upcoming book tour. Stay tuned for more details as they appear.

Skyline Stakes

Chicago has ranked fourth in a listing of the world's 100 most booming skylines. I guess we should be proud of such good placement, but if it was based on looks and not on the number of floors in a high-rise, we all know we'd wipe the floor with NYC. Maybe Trump Tower Chicago will be good for something after all.

More Things to Read

The latest issue of Revol is out, and we've come across a couple other webzines you might be interested in: Keep Going is a quarterly produced by some folks on the West Side, and while Negative Waves has a coupla West Coasters on staff, it's mainly based here. Check'em out.

Wicked Forever

The hit Broadway musical Wicked is coming to Chicago -- possibly permanently. The show opens at the Oriental Theater on April 2, but when the touring production moves on, a local company will take over and stay here indefinitely.

GOOOOAAAAALLLL!

In the "Taking it International" category, the Chicago Fire announced that Soldier Field will be the site of a double-header soccer game. On Wednesday, April 27 the Chicago Fire will play the New England Revolution and Poland will play Mexico. They haven't played each other since 1993 and that game ended in a tie, so this stands to be an absolutely insane day. If you're a season ticket holder, the game is included in the package. If you're not, tickets will range from $35 to $70, if you're lucky enough to get one.

I Love Morrissey

If you love him too, come see the concert film Who Put the 'M' in Manchester, playing just one night only on March 28 at 600 N. Michigan Ave. The film, which documents his legendary sold out homecoming/birthday show in Manchester last year, will be shown in Hi-Definition and 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound.

Blue bags go to waste

The Tribune reports on further evidence that Chicago's blue bag recycling program doesn't work. The city has been letting almost 30% of trash bypass sorting centers, allowing blue bag-laden garbage to go straight to landfills.

Advanced Flirting for Nerds

Early to Bed, the grrl-positive erotic shop at 5232 N. Sheridan Rd., is holding a class tomorrow night at 7:30pm called "Flirting for Nerds 102." It's a more advanced version of the store's popular intro course, and promises to help even the most un-suave person make a pass. $10 at the door, 18 and over. More info on Early to Bed's calendar, or by calling 773-271-1219. By the way, they tell us there may be a film crew taping for a "documentary on nerd culture."

SpareRoom for Rent

SpareRoom is Chicago's time-arts cooperative located at 2416 W. North Avenue. The three-room space "gives a community of artists the opportunity to rehearse, perform, exhibit, and develop work on their own terms." The cooperative's spring membership drive has begun, and fees range from $65-$120/month for a year, depending on your expected maximum monthly usage. So if you were looking for a groovy converted storefront to present your latest performance piece, or debut your harmonica symphony, here's your chance. To apply or for more information, email spareroominfo{at}yahoo{dot}com.

Look! Titles announced for Overlooked Film Fest

Last week, Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert announced his choices for this year's Overlooked Film Festival, held in Urbana-Champaign and featuring screenings of films that Ebert has chosen because they or the film genres they represent have been overlooked. Twelve films will be screened during the festival's five days, from the restored version of Jacques Tati's Playtime (a film not overlooked by the MCA, as a clip from Playtime is part of the museum's current exhibition Universal Experience) to the 1999 Bollywood epic Taal. Tickets for the festival go on sale April 1.

Story Week 2005

Story Week is here! What's Story Week, you ask? Newcity's Tom Lynch gives a little bit of history on Columbia College's week-long literary festival. Be sure to check with your friendly, neighborhood Slowdown for some of those events, posted throughout the week.

We're Golden

Ever wonder why there are so many restaurants in Chicago with the word "Golden" in the name? So did Matt Maldre. He doesn't have an answer for you, but he does have a list of every Golden ______ within city limits.

Sunrise, Sunset, Sun-Times

We linked to this awhile ago, but Coudal points us back to Jack Blanchard's "Sun-Times Sunset," a Quicktime time-lapse video of the destruction of the Sun-Times Building. It's now the complete demolition, and it's set to some really nice music by Frou Frou. You might want to follow the link to Fight For the User while you're there.

Cast of Shadows in Trib

This week the Trib published its review of Kevin Guilfoile's Cast of Shadows, calling it "the abortion debate turned on its head." Eh...that's part of it, but I wouldn't say that's the only focus of the novel. The review is a bit ADD, but it ends up giving the book a big, well deserved plus.

Iraq war anniversary marked in Chicago

March 19 marks the second anniversary of the Iraqi war, and the March 19 Chicago Coalition has organized a downtown march and rally to mark the occasion. See Slowdown for details. Also happening this weekend: a screening of the new documentary Where We Stood, which depicts the events of March 20, 2003 when 500 protestors were arrested in a huge Chicago anti-war protest; and a group of speakers at the Chicago Temple discussing the lessons of the war, including Lila Lipscomb, who was featured in the film Fahrenheit 9/11. Again, see Slowdown for details.

Time Out for Granta

I always feel a bit like a geeky English major when I carry my Granta around, but through the quarterly I've read some compelling essays and been introduced to authors I would have otherwise missed. That, more than anything, is the mark of a good literary magazine. Over at Time Out Chicago, Jonathan Messinger interviews Granta editor Ian Jack about the magazine's "thoughtful literary journalism and socially relevant short fiction." (Check out Slowdown for Jack's appearance on Wednesday's Story Week panel.)

The Ill. 'Dillo

The Tribune reports the slow invasion of an unexpected creature into the Land of Lincoln: the armadillo. There have been at least 80 sightings in recent years, mostly in the far south of the state, but the armored bug-eater has been spotted as far north as Bloomington. Could it be long before 'dillos are competing with rats and pigeons for trash in our alleys? We'll keep you posted.

PISTIL Party

PISTIL Magazine will celebrate the release of its fifth issue, "Idol," at the Hothouse, 31 E. Balbo, with a gallery exhibit and silent auction benefiting the American Red Cross. Featured artists include Jamie Elizabeth, Matt Granstrom, and Kimberly Hoffman, with music by Mannequin DJs and DJ M.T.M. The doors open at 9:30pm and stay that way until 2am. Contact info[at]pistilmag.com for more information.

Local coffee abounds

The Sun-Times mentions that Chicago ranks third in the country for the number of coffee shops. We have 568, placing us behind Los Angeles and Seattle, but ahead of New York. There are also a number of fabulous coffee roasters in town, most of which offer fair trade roasts.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to [censored] we go

The Trib reports that Marshall Field's received some complaints about its Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs holiday windows this past Christmas. It seems some misguided customers saw a "hidden gay agenda" in the depiction of seven men living together. Gregory Clark, Field's VP of creative services, didn't detail how many complaints were received, though it was apparently just a handful. Good thing they didn't go with the SpongeBob windows.

Tragic Beauty

Images from the Tragic Beauty art installation at Open End have been posted on the tragicbeauty.org website. If you missed the opening night and still want to check out the art up close, the gallery will be open on Saturdays (march 18 & 25) from 12-6 (as well as for a few special events).

Nazi Landlord?

One of the contributors at Nacho.org needed to track down a phone number for an ex-landlord. She did a little googling, and discovered the landlord's name on a timeline of Holocaust denial (1990 entry) -- the woman is a Holocaust revisionist who removed her daughter from a high school history class in which the Holocaust was discussed. Read the rest of the story here.

North Side Murder Spike

There's been a sharp increase in murders on the North Side this year -- while on the West Side, the rate has significantly dropped.

The city that perks

In a new listing prepared by the NPD Group of American cities ranked by the number of coffee shops, Chicago ranks third, behind Seattle and LA but ahead of NYC, Portland, and San Francisco. Why does Chicago rank so high? The researchers point to Chicago's winter weather as the cause of increased consumption in the city.

Obama Dissed on DNC Website

Reader Christine points out that although Barack Obama is the darling of the Democratic National Committee, Peter Fitzgerald is still listed on the DNC's website as the junior senator from Illinois, despite being out of office for months. "I thought that was pretty embarrassing for the DNC and figured they'd want to correct it right away, so I emailed them about it. I even gave them the link to Barack Obama's official senate Web site to make it easier for them to fix the page. So a couple days went by and it wasn't fixed. I emailed them again and it STILL isn't fixed. I even emailed Barack Obama, thinking his office could contact the DNC to get it fixed. Still nothing." Actually, it looks like none of the new congressmen have been added. Maybe if we all talk about it, something will happen.

Bunch Leaves for Smithsonian

Recently we reported on the Chicago Historical Society's plans to revamp the museum. Yesterday, days after revealing those plans, CHS President Lonnie Bunch announced that he will be leaving the city for Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian and their National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bunch will remain at CHS until June when Russell Lewis, director of collections and research, will step up as interim-president. (Also on board at the Smithsonian NMAAHC? Oprah. But don't worry -- she's not moving or anything.)

Insert bee pun here

Congratulations to 8th grader Phillip Acevedo, who won this year's Chicagoland spelling bee city championship today. His winning words: "cedilla" and "supernumerary". Acevedo and a winner from tonight's suburban Chicago spelling bee advance to the bee finals, which are held June 1-3 in Washington, DC. (For a description of the grueling spelling bee process, see Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg's great book Complete and Utter Failure.)

826 Chicago

Super-hip writer, and Chicagoland native Dave Eggers began a tutoring project in San Francisco called 826 Valencia, that has bloomed into a nation-wide phenomeonon. Recently 826 Chicago has grown some internet legs and gained some local help as well. Now a part of the official 826 network (joining recently-opened chapters in New York and Los Angeles), Ira Glass has joined the Board of Directors and Chris Ware and Roger Ebert are new members of the Board of Advisors. Look for an article on the project in this week's TimeOut Chicago as well.

Help for Naz

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

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

PAC/edge Theater Festival

This week the PAC/edge theatre festival continues, with lots of neat and off-beat performances. Known hedonist and arts enthusiast Sara writes to pass on a tip: price savvy theater-goers can also get discounted tickets at Hot Tix. $15 for some cutting-edge theater seems like a good deal to me, if you can swing by Hot Tix and get it for $10/seat then it's a downright steal.

When the other man is a falcon

Joshua has been in the hospital since December, and yesterday he headed back home to Rosie. But it appears that Rosie may have found herself someone else. The plot of the next Nora Ephron movie? A Jerry Springer show? No, it's the latest news concerning a pair of falcons nesting atop UIC's University Hall. Maybe a wise-cracking next-door neighbor falcon can offer Joshua some advice on how to win Rosie back.

Influence: Art + Design Edition

On Tuesday, April 5th, Interrupt Media Group and Subsystence present the next installment of their monthly INFLUENCE night at Sonotheque, this time with a focus on the local art and design community. Cody Hudson, Ray Noland, Chris Silva, and Juan Chavez will DJ after an informal preshow discussion about the state of the Chicago creative scene. Panelists will include Jim Coudal, Brian Ulrich, Michael Coleman, Elizabeth Cline, and GB's very own Andrew Huff. More information is available in Slowdown, or on the INFLUENCE website. Hope to see some of you there!

A Chicago Comic in Paris

Recently Arte TV, a French television channel, ran a series of specials on comic book artists, including one on Chris Ware. Traveling all the way from France to get the story on one of our own? Well, that's kind of cool. You can view the video here. (Thanks, Eric.)

Tree House Shelter Needs Help

The Tree House Shelter, a no-kill shelter for cats near Foster and Broadway, has suffered a fire. There is an urgent need for financial assistance to repair the shelter as well as some temporary houses for cats while the work is done. You can donate through their website (via Paypal) or by sending a check to the address on their site.

That's Good Coffee

Three baristas from Chicago were finalists in the Specialty Coffee Association's 2005 United States Barista Championships -- and all of them work for Intelligentsia. Ellie Hudson-Matuszak came in second, Matthew Riddle was fourth and Amber Sather came in sixth. So feel free to order that double-shot half-caf mocha latté with extra foam from either of them, assured that it'll come out exactly right. (Thanks, Tim)

The future of traffic control

On Monday, Mayor Daley unveiled his plan for Chicago traffic control, which contains such items as self-adjusting traffic lights, carpool lanes for streets leading to and from expressways, and tow trucks dispatched within minutes to remove disabled vehicles and delivery trucks that are blocking lanes. Before you get your hopes up, though, the article says that this plan hinges on installing cameras and sensors at 2,800 intersections in the city, a plan which could cost $200-700 million and could take anywhere from 15 to 50 years for complete installation. Some of the less costly changes, such as the fast-tow program and ticketing of vehicles using bus lanes, will be implemented later this year.

Feminism and Hip-Hop

Just when you thought your izzle was safe, the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture presents Feminism and Hip-Hop, a conference to "assess how hip-hop culture affects and portrays women." The April conference is free, but you've got to register by this Friday. Check out the detailed conference schedule - it actually sounds cool. The U of C - where hip-hop meets academia (then comes to die!).

Buddy Guy, legend

The Tribune reminds us that Buddy Guy will be inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame at tonight's ceremonies, which will be broadcast on VH1 Sunday night at 9:00 PM.

Liz, Watched

A new blog has been making the rounds lately, appropriately entitled LizWatch: "There are far too many hours in the day and I have far too much time. This is a pathetic and bitter blog that takes the time to read and critique what is in my opinion the worst journalism in Chicago: Chicago Antisocial." Unfortunately, the Reader still doesn't offer free archives of their content online, so you'll just have to pick up last week's issue to see what all the fuss is about.

Cherry Blossoms Weep

Apartment hunting is a universal experience. So universal that some wise soul has written a haiku cycle about it.

Plucky understudy gets big break!

Dylis Croman, a veteran of Broadway and national touring companies, takes over for Christina Applegate in the current production of "Sweet Charity" at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, after Applegate broke her foot in Friday's performance. OUCH. She is expected to recuperate in time for the Broadway run of the show, which begins April 4. In other words, if you wanted to see Christina Applegate in "Sweet Charity", you're outta luck. Update: the show closed this weekend anyway, and Christina's official understudy, Charlotte d'Amboise, will perform in the show while it's in Boston. Tough darts, Boston!

Chicago Goes to Pilot

Starting Over may have started over in LA, but Chicago has a shot at another reality series. A Showtime pilot about couples therapy is currently in the works. It's produced by the creators of HBO's Taxicab Confessions and sex therapist/Sun-Times columnist Laura Berman. In other pilot-season news, Freddie Prinze Jr. has sunk to the self-titled sitcom; in the pilot for Freddie he plays a Chicago chef. When asked if the show might actually shoot here, producers said, "Of course not! Don't be ridiculous!"

A Better Summer For Biking

According to the Tribune, Metra has bowed to the pressure of the Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and has agreed to allow bicycles on Metra during non-rush periods. Reverse commuters (like me) have special cause to celebrate, since we can take our bikes on the train during rush hour.

Velour-Clad Hedonists

Here's a great resource, especially if you're involved in the performing arts community: The Last Outpost Of The Cult Of Velour-Clad Hedonists. It's a lj site that highlights upcoming shows, where to get cheap tickets, and where to attend workshops of use to performers. A venture of the Links Hall, they are doing a great job of highlighting multi-discipline performances in Chicago.

More TDC

Stage 4 of the Tour Da Chicago goes down this Sunday the 13th with registration at 8AM with a 8:45AM race start. This one sounds good — a scavenger hunt around our beautiful city. Time Out Chicago recently published an article about the series of races. I'll be there, will you?

Be a Roller!

Tonight you have a chance to find out the answer to this incredibly intriguing question: Do YOU have what it takes to join Chicago's all-girl flat track roller derby league? The Windy City Rollers are looking for a few good roller-skating women, and they're throwing a party tonight at Cork Lounge (1822 W. Addison) for interested lady skaters. No experience necessary, but you do get points for skating ability and personality. See the league's news page for full details. Also pay attention to the league's photo section, particularly the injury gallery.

Ascenders, Descenders

If you're needing a healthy dose of extremely nice art make sure you visit the Foundation Gallery tonight for the opening of their new show, Ascenders, Descenders. The exhibition features the artwork of Robin Cameron, Lukas Geronimas, Ben Loiz and Sighn. All of the artists create images with hand drawn type, using typography not as merely a tool but as a form of expression. It's going to be good. The work will be on view through April 10. The reception tonight is from 6-10.

CTA Map 2055 on 848

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

Trader Joe's Coming to Oak Park

After a long, hard battle the Oak Park Village Board approved a new 14-story development which includes a Trader Joe's. The arguments have been heated - people for the project argue that it'll bring more money to the suburb along with more people. Those against go so far as to say the new building will increase density and thus, "make us afraid to walk our own streets day or night." Geez, people, Trader Joe's sells delicious foods - not thugs.

Culture-jamming Quilt Art

Artist Ai Kijima makes some amazing quilts out of bedsheets, curtains, t-shirts and other textiles that feature pop-culture imagery. Very cool.

Scared to dance?

Tonight sees another installment of Scared to Dance, the Opaque Project's monthly dose of debauchery at the Liar's Club. Expect DJs Johnny Love, Chamberweed, Hunter Husar, and Joel Brown to drop everything from no-wave to rio funk, booty house to disco, hip hop to grime, glam rock to acid house. Liar's Club, 10pm, 1665 W. Fullerton, 21+, no cover, $1 PBR.

IKEA Called Out by Norway

Seems that even the Prime Minister of Norway has some issues with those crazy IKEA furniture assembly instructions. Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik recently lambasted IKEA for not using pictures of women in its furniture literature. IKEA, which has quite a world presence, might be steering clear of using female models to show how to put together your Billy bookcase, to avoid offending its Muslim customers, but so far, they're not talking about it. You can decide for yourself out in Schaumburg.

Read an Excerpt From Hairstyles

This week's Ask the Librarian introduces the first selection of the Gapers Block Book Club, Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno. But, if you want to sample the novel first, one of our readers reminds me you can download a 25-page excerpt of Hairstyles of the Damned, in .pdf format, from the Punk Planet Books website. Sweet. (Thanks, Pete!)

Manet and the AIC

Really like Manet? Want a chance to get a peek at the president and director of the Art Institute? Today, at 6pm, James Cuno will give a special lecture on 19th century critics' responses Manet's work. It's $12 for members, $20 for non-members. When you're finished, stop by the Shop and pick up a copy of Mr. Cuno's book Whose Muse, a collection of five prominent museum directors' thoughts on their professions. Call 312-449-4132 for more information.

CTA yet again warns of looming budget cuts

No, they really mean it this time: today the CTA unveiled five new plans to cover budget shortfalls, if they don't get the funding they've been requesting from state legislators. And the plans are terrifying; rush-hour fares of $3 and up, increased waiting time between trains and buses, and the elimination of many bus routes and weekend and overnight service are but some of the details that the CTA listed to try and get politicians to act on funding requests. The CTA is planning to start cutting service on July 1, so this might be a very bad summer for commuters. Stay tuned...

Dave Matthews bus driver pleads guilty

Stefan Wohl, the bus driver for the Dave Matthews Band who won his way into millions of grade school kids' hearts last August when he dumped 800 pounds of raw sewage onto a tour boat, pled guilty today in court to charges of reckless conduct and discharging contaminates to cause water pollution. He was sentenced to 18 months probation and 150 hours of community service, and here's hoping at least some of those hours will be spent working on a Chicago tour boat.

2055 on 848

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

Wright Home... Sold!

If you were hoping that you could purchase a Frank Lloyd Wright home on the cheap, well, you're outta luck. The Emil Bach House up at 7415 N. Sheridan was auctioned off in just 8 minutes yesterday to the tune of $750,000, give or take a few thousand. The good news is that the new owner isn't a developer and actually plans to live in the house, which has been criticized for its small rooms.

A film guaranteed to make you hungry

Tonight at Facets you can catch a screening of the documentary Hamburger America, which profiles 8 different American restaurants that serve hamburgers, from Louis' Lunch in New Haven, CT (which bills itself as the first place to serve a hamburger in America) to the Billy Goat Tavern's cheezborger. The director, George Motz, will be at the 7:00 screening for Q&A after the film, and then the audience is invited to the Billy Goat at 430 N. Michigan for burgers.

Wireless Internet, Citywide

WiFi users, take note and call your alderman: Taking Philadelphia's lead, Chicago officials are developing plans for a ubiquitous WiFi network made up of about 7500 antennae attached to telephone or light poles throughout the city. It won't be free, though. "If you looked at 500,000 Chicago households that presently are accessing the Internet and multiply that by $20 [a month], that could be a huge amount of money," Alderman Ed Burke told the Tribune.

Under the Radar Operators

The fine folks over at Creative Rescue have just released another issue of their homegrown web publication Blacklist, this time featuring profiles on musician Kahlil El' Zabar, DJ Heather, and printer Thomas Lucas, plus art from French designers Superdeux and NYC's SoCity, as well as interviews with Pugslee Atomz and Statik. You can read it online, or download and print a convenient PDF version. Check it!

Otium Launches

The University of Chicago's new online prose magazine, Otium has just launched. Otium features fiction, plays, an interview, and art. I didn't realize prose included photography, but it's good so I'll let it slide. If your New Years resolution was to get something published this year, note that they're also accepting submissions for future issues. Go get 'em.

Trump building to be merely humongous, not Brobdingnagian

Donald Trump says his new Chicago building will NOT be the nation's tallest building. He decided against plans to increase the height of the building's spire, meaning that the building will only be 1,360 feet tall, or 90 feet shorter than the Sears Tower. Still, you wouldn't want to have to paint it.

Coming soon: Official State Drink?

Good news for fans of Illinois animals! The state legislative body in Springfield is set to name an official state reptile and amphibian soon. (That'd be the painted turtle and the eastern tiger salamander, respectively.) And if that isn't enough state symbolism for you, have a gander at this list of state symbols, which includes the official Illinois state animal (the white-tailed deer), the official state fossil (the Tully Monster), the official state mineral (fluorite; in your face, quartz!) and the official state dance (the square dance).

Chicago "Buffett"

A brief in Crain's notes that investor Warren Buffett is planning on bringing more flights to Midway Airport. Buffett's fleet (none of which seat more than 18 per plane) will make some 30 round-trip flights over the week between Midway and New York City. No word yet on when the plan will take off.

Tense Forms of the Ephemeral

Tenseforms, an art and music collective, has started a new project called "the snow filled our tracks as quick as we made them." As Josh describes it, "Each day presents a new bit of ephemera -- a poem, a joke, a recipe, a painting, a song, or whatever else we dig up. The next day it's hidden away, covered (not publicly archived), replaced with something new. Folks can bookmark the site and visit daily, but the best way to experience it is via RSS feed. Subscribe to the site and there'll be a little art gift in your news reader each weekday."

"Celebrating More Than 80 Years of Losing!"

There are plans afoot to create a Chicago Baseball Museum showcasing all the contributions the city has made to the sport. All aspects of the game would be covered, including the old negro leagues, the short-lived women's league and even 16-inch softball. Maybe they could get the Negro League Cafe to run concessions.

Battle Armour

Marine Captain Vernice Armour is an amazing individual. She's been an amateur bodybuilder, a pro football player and has served two tours of duty in Iraq as the first black female combat pilot. Now she's being inducted into the Museum of African-American History.

Gorillasuit

I'm overly fond of bright, whimsical and well designed personal sites — the kind that inspire you and draw you in to explore with no one section the same as the other. Remember those days? When the web was still much more freeform rather than a blog template? Add to the mix a healthy sense of humor, a unique identity and you have the work of one Arthur Jones, also known as Gorillasuit. Currently on the Monster Loteria Tour, showcasing the videos of Jones and Jim Finn, the work coming out of Gorillasuit is fantastic. Take for instance, the paint-by-numbers pledge premiums for This American Life on WBEZ or the gut-busting twistedness that is Magic Pants.

Tribune Books Don't Make Grade

I'm much more likely to hit, say, Bookslut for my literary news, but there are still a good number of people who turn to the book review section of the newspaper when looking for something to read. But how apt are those printed reviews? Golden Rule Jones does his own review of the Tribune's Books section and comes to the conclusion that while we have great literature, our city needs to do more to tout it.

Pulaski Day

Oh yeah, the Sun-times reminds us it's Pulaski Day. Amazing how quickly you forget the holiday when you're out of grade school...

Lefkow Memorial Tonight

There will be a candlelight memorial tonight at 7pm on the 5200 block of North Lakewood Ave. in Andersonville to pay silent tribute to the Lefkow family. Bring your own candle. More information available from Nancy Meyerson of the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce at 773-784-5277.

Comcast Squashes Would-be Competitors

"In 2003, the cities of Batavia, St. Charles and Geneva, Ill., sought to form a Fiber to the Home system under which fiber optic cables the next generation of cable technology would be owned by the cities. Comcast and SBC joined forces to kill the effort to compete with them." Now Lansing, Mich. is preparing to take on the communications giant, and the Lansing City Pulse takes a good look at the issues and the company's strong-arm tactics.

A Saucy Newcomer

Jessa Crispin, editor and founder of Bookslut, has launched a new foodie webzine, Saucy. It's off to a promising start, with articles on whether to put booze in the freezer and when to start planting your garden.

The Illinois Album

Pitchfork has the latest details about Sufjan Steven's upcoming album based on our lovely state. Illinois is the lucky second stop on Sufjan's musical tour of the 50 states, Michigan being the first. The final track listing is still to be determined as the album is still in production. But it will feature a track titled "Chicago". Other songs will cover topics such as the Chicago Fire, the Worlds Fair, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and Wrigley. The album is due out in July.

The Origin of "Gapers Block"

Barry Popik, a word hunter and chronicler of the American dialect (previously discussed here), has tracked the coinage of the term "gapers block" down to a policeman turned WGN traffic reporter named Irv Hayden. Popik also recently added an entry on our famous wind, the Hawk, which is rearing its head today.

Christie Hefner Speaks at Northwestern

Have some time on your lunch break today? Christie Hefner, the CEO of Playboy Enterprises, is scheduled to speak at noon today at the McGaw, Daniel Hale Williams Auditorium on Northwestern's downtown campus. The topic of the lecture, sponsored by the school's Medical Students for Choice group, is "The Current State of Reproductive Rights." The McGaw building is located at 240 E. Huron St. Call 312-867-1917 for more details.

Tribune To Go Tabloid?

In what could be the most fundamental acknowledgement that the Sun-Times is doing something right, Crain's reports that the Tribune is considering a tabloid version of the paper. It hasn't made it past prototype, according to two anonymous Trib staffers, but we know one thing: the ink won't rub off on your hands as badly as with the S-T.

Cast of Shadows gets thumbs up

Kevin Guilfoile's debut novel, Cast of Shadows, was reviewed in the New York Times on Sunday. The book gets a thumbs up, with the reviewer writing, "What's most appealing here, and most promising for Guilfoile's future as a novelist, is that he wields the bylaws of his chosen genre to undercut its central premise." Guilfoile appears at the Book Stall at Chestnut Court today to sign copies of Cast of Shadows.

A deep dish of trouble for NY writer

New York food critic Ed Levine recently published a new book, Pizza: A Slice of Heaven, in which he lists his favorite pizza places in the US. Although he devotes a number of pages in his book to places in New York and New England (16 pages on Connecticut pizza alone!), Levine devotes only 11 pages to Chicago pizza. An interview with the Sun-Times Mark Brown turns up the fact that Levine doesn't think much of Chicago pizza: "I've never had pizza in Chicago that lives up to my pizza ideals." But lest you think that Levin doesn't even like our pizza: "I actually like it because I like good casseroles. I even like hot dish in Minneapolis." There you go. According to Ed Levine, Chicago pizza is at least as good as hot dish!

Strip-tease Open Mic

Join Michelle L'amour of the Lavender Cabaret for Strip-Tease Open Mic at the Funky Buddha Lounge. Here's your change to show off your burlesque skills and earn cash and adoration. Open to all over 21, but remember, burlesque is not pole dancing!

Tonight's other European film festival

Along with the EU Film Festival at the Film Center, another European film fest kicks off tonight: the 6th annual Irish Film Festival, which plays at the Beverly Arts Center and the Society for Arts. The festival kicks off tonight with the film Adam & Paul, and runs through Sunday, March 13. See the festival's Website for a complete schedule of films and events, and to purchase tickets.

Another Weekly Read

For those still looking for even more information about what's going on in the city, you can now add Time Out Chicago to your weekly to-read list. The premier issue is on stands now; it'll cost ya $2.50. Or you could just keep reading The Reader, New City and us for free. ;)

Chain

Independent filmmaker Jem Cohen will be screening his full length feature, Chain, at the MCP tonight. The film is being shown in conjunction with the Manufactured Self exhibition and is screening for one night only! Jem Cohen will be there in person to introduce the film and for discussion after the screening. He is best known for his documentary Instrument, a portrait of the band Fugazi, shot over ten years. For a review of the film and an interview with the director go here. The screening is free and starts at 7pm.

Behold! the living Corpse

Former GB staffer Phineas X. Jones has announced the return of AnExquisiteCorpse.net, an online adaptation of the classic Surrealist word game Exquisite Corpse. Come peruse the existing Corpses (which feature work by more than a few GB staffers and friends), and if you feel worthy enough, sign up to help assemble a Corpse.

Food co-op meeting

If you missed Tuesday's meeting for the formation of a West Side food co-op, there will be another one tomorrow, March 5 at noon at the Congress Theater (2135 W. Milwaukee Ave.). For more information, check out the Yahoo group.

Women's History in Books

Wow, I am a bad feminist. I didn't even know that March is Women's History Month. Good thing I have the Seminary Co-op Bookstore to keep me aprised of such things and to point me toward titles that'll beef up my knowledge of all things feminist. Throughout the month, the store's site will post lists of books related to the topic. The first is Women in Antiquity.

Chicago Historical Rehab

The Chicago Historical Society is going to be closed for most of next year so they can expand and revitalize the center. They expect twice as much space to be alloted so the center can have more 3-D displays about Chicago history. They're not planning to whitewash Chicago's history, though. An audio display will permit visitors to hear a history of how their neighborhood has changed. President Lonnie Bunch said, "On the one hand, neighborhoods are places of celebration, but they're also places that keep people out."

Chicago's Avant Garde Chefs Get More Press

A month after Moto's Homaro Cantu's feature in the New York Times, Grant Achatz -- formerly of Trio, now on his own at Alinea -- gets a nice, big feature in Food & Wine. I really want to try that PB&J.

EU Film Festival starts tonight

The Siskel Film Center begins its 8th annual European Film Festival tonight, which runs through March 24. All 25 nations of the EU are represented in the film selections, and among them are many sneak previews of talked-about films that will be officially screening in the US in later months. Check out the Film Center's site for more information on the festival and a full schedule.

Happy Birthday Chicago

March 4th marks the 168th birthday of the City of Chicago. To celebrate, the city is offering free cake and ice cream at the Chicago Historical Society. Tomorrow is also First Fridays at the MCA, who have also shown their true colors with the "Get Lucky At the MCA" theme party. Karma Cosmos and Mac "digital matchmaking" mark this month's hookup scene at First Fridays. Art and appetizers - a match made in heaven!

Local boy makes good

Congrats to Chicago's very own Steve Fossett, who just touched down in Salina, Kansas, becoming the first person to fly solo around the world without stopping or refueling. We always knew he'd make something of himself someday....

Re:sound Returns

The Third Coast Audio Festival's weekly radio documentary show, "Re:sound," returns to the air this Sunday after an extended hiatus. Catch the new episode at 5pm Sunday on WBEZ.

The Resonant Image

Attention interactive media artists: Local web-based image gallery and music archive Stasisfield is calling for submissions to their new exhibition entitled The Resonant Image. In this interesting two-tiered competition, artists are asked to share experimental visual interpretations of musical scores. Selected work will displayed as both an image and, later, as an MP3. Visit the Stasisfield site for more information on how to contribute. Deadline for submissions is at the end of the month.

GB Book Club Launches

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

CTA Brown Line customers see red

The CTA held a public meeting last night to talk about the station closings during the Brown Line expansion. The Tribune reports that more than 400 people showed up to the meeting, many of whom blasted the CTA for waiting so long before announcing budget cuts in the project that necessitate temporary closings of stations during construction. Among the people there was Chicago blogger Leah Jones, who has posted her summary of the meeting. (Thanks as always to CTA Tattler for the tip.)

Sketchy

Two sketches were released today of some "persons of interest" relating to the recent murders of the husband and mother of U.S. District Judge Lefkow. The men were seen in the Andersonville block near Lefkow's home on Monday by neighbors. While the investigation is really gaining some steam in obtaining forensic evidence, Judge Lefkow made her first public statement that she will likely return to the bench.

Organic Foods Festival

The FamilyFarmed.org Expo is being held this Sunday at Navy Pier. The one-day festival will feature more than 100 local organic farmers, who will be showing and distributing their produce and other products. Cooking demonstrations from folks like Art Smith, Oprah's personal chef, and workshops on healthy living will also be included. The expo runs from 11am-5pm. Visit the Family Farmed website for the complete program.

Wait 'til next year

Ron Santo, the greatest third baseman in Cubs history and WGN color commentator, was denied induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, in a vote by the Baseball Veterans Committee. (In fact no eligible ball players garnered enough votes this year to make it into Cooperstown, but Santo and the late Gil Hodges came the closest.) There was some hope that he would have joined Ryne Sandberg in the Hall of Fame this year (Sandberg having been elected to the hall by the Baseball Writers Association of America), but no such luck. Perhaps next time the Cubs should send copies of This Old Cub to the committee? (Thanks to The Cub Reporter for the tip.)

Free Copies of The Ox-Bow Incident

If you are planning to read the latest One Book, One Chicago selection, the Chicago Tribune notes that four Starbucks locations will be giving away a limited number of free copies on Friday. The stores at 180 N. LaSalle St., 40 N. Clinton St., 210 W. North Ave. and 1070 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. will all be participating, beginning at 8am.

Chris Ware on TV, in France

Fans of Chris Ware take note: the acclaimed graphic novelist was on the French television channel Arte. Blogged by Kempa, the episode is now available also from Kempa, as a bittorrent file.

More CTA Expansion Plans

Contributor Craig Berman isn't the only person working on plans to expand the El into a network. Here's another expanded CTA map.

The next book for you to read

The new "One Book, One Chicago" book title has been announced: The Ox-Bow Incident, by Walter Van Tilburg Clark. Over the next few weeks there will be public readings, book club discussions and film screenings of the story; check the Chicago Public Library site for details.

Boondocks in Trib's Dog House

The Tribune didn't run The Boondocks again today. You can read it here, if you like.

St. Baldrick's Cure for Children's Cancer Benefit

St. Baldrick's Foundation raises funds to find cures for cancers affecting children. To raise money for their event, participants shave their heads to show solidarity with those affected and to collection donations to help the foundation. There are multiple events in Illinois, though I personally know a former neighbor of mine Pete Anderson will be at the event downtown at Fado's Pub.

More seats coming to Wrigley Field

It's official: the Cubs and the city have finally closed a deal to add 1,790 seats to Wrigley Field, construction for which could begin as soon as the end of this year's baseball season. To accommodate the new seats, Wrigley Field walls will have to extend an additional 8 feet onto the sidewalks of Waveland and Sheffield, which will alone cost the Cubs nearly $1 million.

The World of Brunetti!

Ivan Brunetti, comix artist and Columbia College professor, has a blog. He also has an extensive collection of early 20th century postcards "demure" and "not-so-demure," among his JPEG Collection. [via MetaFilter]

Judge's Family Executed

Last night, someone murdered the husband and mother of Judge Joan Lefkow; each was shot once in the head. White supremecist Matthew Hale was convicted last year of putting a contract out on Judge Lefkow, after she held him in contempt of court during a copyright case. He's been under lock and key with almost no contact with the outside world, but that doesn't discount a member of his Creativity Movement (formerly the World Church of the Creator; how frightening is it that they have a CafePress store?) as a potential suspect.

Influence @ Sonotheque

Tonight is the March installment of the monthly Influence night at Chicago's Sonotheque. Featuring selections from Ethan D'Ercole of the Watchers, Kevin Kujawa from Hi-Fi, and Mike Broers of Ghost Arcade, Influence is a relaxed night of unmixed (and often underappreciated) classics. Locals Jeremy Horst and Aaron Bennett open. More information is available in Slowdown.

 

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