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. 


Monday, July 22

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GNRs on Gmaps, a Chicago-based message board devoted to discussing food, glorious food, recently designated 27 local places to eat as "Great Neighborhood Restaurants" (the selection process is detailed here). followed up by presenting the winners on an interactive map that gives you the basics -- phone and address details -- and then goes a step further by linking to the Forum's discussion of why each establishment deserved recognition.

Chicago Card promotion ends soon

In an effort to boost usage, the CTA has lately waived the $5 purchase price for Chicago Cards. That was too good to last forever, and, indeed, tomorrow, July 31st, is the final day you can get either version of the card for free. Surf on over and sign up. Too late!

More Views from the Ground

We told you earlier this week about The View from the Ground, which details cases of police brutality at Stateway Gardens. One of the site's authors, Jamie Kalven, is profiled in this week's Hot Type in the Reader.

"Holy Cow!" and Other Cubs Clichés

Cubscast, is running a contest: call the podcast's hotline at 773-828-4396 and do an impression of any Cubs broadcaster, past or present. The best impression will receive an autographed copy of Cubs Nation: 162 Games. 162 Stories. 1 Addiction by Gene Wojciechowski. Read the rules here.

O'Hare Delays: the Problem & the Solution

Slate has an article by a UofC econ professor explaining why delays occur at major airports like O'Hare -- it's not just too many flights. In related news, the city's plans for O'Hare expansion got final environmental approval from the FAA yesterday.

Google Earth Chicago

It only took some time before mods would appear specific to Chicago for Google Earth (have you played with it yet? Fascinating time-sucking fun!). Sam Perkins-Harbin has created a few interesting overlays such as the CTA, Chicago Weather and Chicago Traffic. Get them at his site.

Talk about the Spire

It's clear GB readers have an opinion or two about the proposed Fordham Spire. Here's another chance to be heard: This Sunday at 10am, WBEZ's Hello Beautiful! show will be taking calls live to discuss Santiago Calatrava's design. The number to call (then, not now) is 312-832-3124.

Stockyard-city vegetarianism

If you're at all like me, the idea of a Bacon-off ranks up there as one of the sickening stunts they show on Fear Factor. No, I'd be more apt to pig out (so to speak) on chana masala, and now I know where to go for it, thanks to the Metblogs list of favorite local veggie food. [For good measure, a few more veg*n resources, including some from our archives: VegChicago; the Chicago Veggie community on LiveJournal; PJ Chmiel's gallery; Bite Me Baking on Daily Candy; and Go Veggie.]

Dorkbot Chicago

There's one spot left for Deadtech's Dorkbot event next week. So if you've got a homemade robot to show off, a sweet application you've written, or some wired circuits, contact Deadtech to be in the August 2nd show.

Stateway from the Ground

The View from the Ground is a collection of investigative reporting and opinion pieces concerning life in the Stateway Gardens housing project and the treatment of its residents in the hands of a group of police officers known as "the skullcap crew." It's definitely worth a read.

Chicago is overpriced?

With quite a few friends buying homes lately and proclaiming that now's the time to buy, it's surprising that Forbes has ranked Chicago fourth for overpriced places to live. The logic seems flawed: New York is rightfully ranked higher (though Seattle tops the list) and yet San Francisco comes in at sixth. Huh?

Gen Art Style Chicago '05

Tonight you can see me take in some fashion at Gen Art's Style Chicago '05, a celebration of the organization's International Design Competition winners. What? I'm not money enough to draw you there? Then come see Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll host the evening of worldly fashion. Slowdown is not only pretty, it has all the details you need.

Public Hearing for Wi-Fi

Matt mentioned this earlier, but if you missed the first hearing on the possibility of creating an entirely wireless Chicago, here's another chance. Tonight at 6:30pm, come to the Malcom X Learning Center, 4624 W. Madison, Room #105. Call Aileen Kim at 773-736-5594 or email ward39[at]cityofchicago[dot]org to confirm your attendance.


The weblog of Fantagraphics Books alerts us to an amazing-sounding upcoming exhibit: Chicago artist Ivan Brunetti is putting together a show for Columbia College's A+D Gallery to promote his upcoming book Anthology of Graphic Fiction, and it sounds like the show is going to include work from practically EVERYBODY in the comics industry, from Charles Schulz to Adrian Tomine. The show is set to open in early September (opening reception on September 8), so be sure to mark your calendars now so you don't forget.

You Am I

Purveyors of the finest in positive street art, You Are Beautiful is showcasing it's "You Am I" book exhibition at Open End Gallery this Saturday from 6-11pm. The exhibition displays the 111 books that went out into the world to be creatively stamped by many and returned. A $5 dollar donation is suggested, which will go towards funding similar projects.

Graphically Facilitated

One more post about the Authors' Roundtable: In addition to making toys and jewelry at, Brandy Agerbeck is a graphic facilitator. She came to the roundtable on Monday and put her skills to work on the discussion, resulting in this amazing diagram. See more examples of her work here.

More Burger Ratings

GQ rated the country's 20 best burgers, and Chicago got but one listing -- Poag Mahone's in the South Loop. Considering it didn't make the Tribune's top five nor was it mentioned in the Fuel thread on burgers awhile back, you have to wonder exactly where GQ got their information. (Thanks, Brenda)

Mosquitoes Bite

It seems our hot and dry summer hasn't put a damper on the mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus, according to a statewide sampling system. The number of virus-carrying Culex mosquitoes (which thrive in hot, dry weather) is as high as back in 2002, when Illinois was the nationwide leader in West Nile infections. Watch out between dusk and dawn, and don't forget bug spray and these mosquito-fighting tips.

Goin' to the Show

The Show strikes again: If you attend Thursday night's performance in Millennium Park by Danilo Pérez with Angel Meléndez and the 911 Mambo Orchestra, you can get a professionally produced, limited edition live recording of it for posterity.

Birthday candle, drill bit...

While folks struggle to find just the right metaphor for the proposed Fordham Spire, national coverage of it continues today. The Washington Post offers this account, while the Times puts the desire for tall buildings in historical and global perspective. That article engages the very question with which the Tribune's editorial grapples; your opinion is welcome in Fuel.

Smart Women Read

For all that I bemoan my existence at the U of C, this is something I'd actually like to know more about. Rising fourth-year student Agraja Sharma has put together A Woman's Guide to the University of Chicago (site not yet updated), a compilation of resources by and for female students. Not only does the group of students plan to become a registered organization, they also want to publish an updated version of the guide every two years. A practical, as opposed to philosophical, approach to women's issues? This gives me hope.

Subvert the Dominant Ticketmaster

A couple of days ago, we noted the departure of Hi-Fi Records from the space next door to the Metro. A reader who visited over the weekend wrote in and described its condition as "totally barren, empty to the bare walls, no signage, nada." The store kept erratic hours, but one appeal was its acting as a point of purchase for tickets not marked up by any service charges. Now, post-Hi-Fi closure, the Metro will be handling its own sales, with a box office open Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm, and Saturday, 12 to 6pm. Although it's always sad to see an independent music store close up shop, this development offers something of a silver lining. (Unchanged: if you wanna spend the dough, you can still go through Ticketmaster.)

Other Local BOTWs

We weren't the only Chicago-based blog to make Forbes' Best of the Web list: Bookslut's blog is among the top literary blogs, Jim Romenesko is their pick as the best media blog, and both AsianMack Super Filter and LiveMusicBlog make their list of music blogs. Best of the Web: GB! just released their Best of the Web Directory and we've been fortunate enough to make it to their City Blogs list. Cheers all round!

Roundtable Wrap-up

The Authors' Roundtable went very well last night; thanks to all who attended. We've got some photos up in our Flickr account, Chicagoist has some reflections and more photos, and Matt has yet more photos.

Raising funds the eBay way

A week after they went up for charity auction, flip-flops worn by the Northwestern women's lacrosse team will soon go to the highest bidder. With less than twelve hours to go, some of the shoes are up to $250, ten times the opening bid; proceeds will benefit 10-year-old cancer patient Jaclyn Murphy. As this wouldn't have happened if not for the Tribune's coverage of the athletes' footwear choice, columnist Eric Zorn provides an interesting account of how the human interest story becomes news.

Book & Paper Arts Triennial

Columbia College's Center for Book & Paper Arts is holding their 4th International Book & Paper Arts Triennial. The exhibition features 71 works produced over the last three years, including everything from letterpress printed books, pulp painting and "altered books." If the cover gets you just as excited as what's inside, this might be for you. Running through August 27.

Skyline reaching new heights

As of early this morning, a Google search for "Fordham Spire" returns no results. Expect that to change quite soon. The New York Times reports that Christopher T. Carley's Fordham Co. will announce today that, despite concerns of potential terrorism, it plans to build what will replace the Sears Tower as the tallest building in the country. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, a skeptical Donald Trump calls the proposed structure at N. Water St. and Lake Shore Drive nothing but "a total charade."

WE can do it!

Women Empowered ~ Chicago is a local group of women that barter among themselves for all kinds of services: "house cleaning, food shopping, painting, guitar lessons, computer lessons, carpool and so much more." The founders of WE ~ Chicago were inspired by a similar system that was active in the city a decade ago, and encourage any and all women interested in bartering to check out their site for more information.

Going nowhere fast

U of C economics professor Austan Goolsbee looks at the science behind traffic jams at the nation's busiest airports, and he offers a few tips on how to avoid delays at O'Hare. Sadly, having read through the alternatives Goolsbee lays out, I'm left with the impression that we hardly have any alternatives at all.


Recently, some of us decided that a Bacon-off (bacon-eating contest), was a great idea. Pictures of the event are now up. The winner? Atomly, former vegan, ate three pounds of bacon in three five-minute rounds (a pound a round!) to edge out Mike and Dan.

AFL-CIO Less United, More Divided

As had been rumored, four major unions have boycotted the annual meeting of the AFL-CIO, the national labor federation, in town this week. The SEIU and the Teamsters have taken it a step further and quit the organization, with others expected to follow suit in the coming days. Read Ramsin Canon's thoughts on the matter in last week's Revenge of the Second City.

Authors Roundtable tonight!

Authors Roundtable tonight. Put on by us, moderated by Andrew. Sulzer Library in Lincoln Square. Come, listen, talk. (And tomorrow night, the Bookslut Reading Series!)

Hot dog showdown

In a national phone poll of 900 people, New York edged out Chicago for best hot dog. Is it the poppyseeds, or the sport peppers? Related: Watch me eat a hot dog.

Fluff, a guilty pleasure

The Sun-Times recently incorporated a new section called Fluff — The Chicago Sun-Times' Guilty Pleasure, reads the subhead — into the paper. If you're curious about it, Newsdesigner has posted spreads from the section, which we have to admit might have some sass.

Transitioning TAL to TV (or not)

We learned in May that, after ten years, This American Life was set to go ahead as a television program. Or, at least, a pilot. Now, according to the Times, that much has happened: there's an episode in the can. Showtime has a few months to decide whether to commission a full season; likewise, Ira Glass has the option of walking away. Stay tuned.

The challenges of safe transport

With New York introducing baggage checks on the MTA, the CTA tattler asked the obvious question: "Are we next?" The post sparked spirited debate among commenters, particularly about privacy in the face of screening. Slate explores that very topic in its latest "Explainer," noting a number of variables affect the legality of such an operation. Meanwhile, revelations that the man shot and killed by police yesterday in London's Underground had no terrorist connections can only underscore how difficult the problem of transit security really is.

Kits for Kidz

I saw Arnie Duncan, the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, on the news the other day talking about Kitz for Kids, a program that provides school supplies to disadvantaged students. I thought, "Sign me up." But, of course, the local news didn't provide any actual helpful information, like, say, how to get involved in the program. Well, Eric Zorn to the rescue, posting the link to the Kitz for Kids CPS School Supplies Drive on his blog. More than 9,000 homeless students in Chicago need help purchasing basic school supplies, and the kits (there are three different grade level types) each cost less than $15. All kits will be sent directly to those who need them, so consider helping out.

More Butterflies in the City

For all you budding butterfly watchers out there, GB staff member Brian wrote me with another great Chicago spot for observing these colorful insects. He recommends visiting the McCormick Place Bird Sanctuary, a 6-acre park along Chicago's lakefront, just south of McCormick Place's Lakeside Center.

Get Yer CDs Before They're Gone

Almost exactly two years ago, we wrote about HiFi Records going into the store next to Metro after Clubhouse folded. Well, now HiFi's folding, too. But you can profit from their failure -- all CDs are currently $2-$5. In related news, our good friends Coudal Partners are turning their studio into a narrow-selection record store today: stop by 400 N. May St. between 3pm and 7pm to pick up live concert CDs from the Pixies and Dead Can Dance. More info on the pixiesdiscs blog. UPDATE: Just called HiFi and confirmed: Saturday is the Metro location's last day in business; the other two locations remain open.

Beat the Heat by Buying Cool Crafts

If this heat makes you yearn for a free air-conditioned space, then head to Catalyst Ranch tonight to meet up with the Chicago Craft Mafia for their first annual Summer Shakedown. They, and 19 "friends of the family", are putting aside their glue guns, seam rippers, and scissors long enough to let you get a peek at what they've been making. We'll see you there between 8pm and 11pm. Right? Yeah! Dat's what I thought!

Eat, See and Be Merry

Following the trend of local eateries displaying local artists' work (Metropolitan's Daniel Teafoe and Northside's Anthony Lewellen are among my recent favorites), Tre Via is currently showing the photography of Alex Segreti. Of the ten black and white photos, eight were shot around the city. If you come for the photos, be sure stay for the food (which is so good that you can expect a bangin' review of it in the near future). Tre Via is located at 1575 N. Milwaukee. Segreti's work will be on display through August 9.

Next up: Heat Stroke for Hottie

Lollapalooza, the second big music festival of July, is soon upon us. In fact, you can beat tomorrow's lines by heading down to Grant Park this afternoon to redeem your tickets for the wristbands that will allow admission. Nevertheless, what may prove unbeatable is the weather. WGN forecasts a high of 100º on Sunday, with a heat index of 114º. So, if you're going, make sure to take along the permitted 2 water bottles, and, if you decide to stay indoors and forgo the Trail of Dead outside, one place you can look for reports on festival goings-on is USA Today. The paper is touring the country on a "summer music road trip" and kicks off its coverage of the weekend with this interview with the soon-to-be-50 Billy Idol.

Welcome to The Jungle

A number of us have recently come to love the story of Jurgis Rudkus's plight in the stockyards of old Chicago, but didn't you think there was just a little something missing? Like song and dance?! Every Monday and Tuesday through August 30, Tantalus Theatre Group is putting on a musical interpretation of The Jungle. With a $10 donation you can witness the rat-infested Lithuanian home acted out in song. Head to Joy Blue at 3998 N. Southport, 8pm, or call 773-960-2066 for more information.

The Horror! The Horror!

Although this weekend's heat is supposed to be horrific, next weekend will see some true horrors as the annual Flashback Weekend horror/sci-fi/fantasy convention rolls into town July 29-31 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare in Rosemont. Our very own Steve at the Movies is one of the co-hosts for the event, which features Bruce Campbell (read Steve's interview with him at Ain't It Cool), Ted Raimi, Adrienne Barbeau, Bill Moseley and Sid Haig from the new film The Devil's Rejects and Camille Keaton, the star of the controversial film I Spit on Your Grave. There's also a drive-in theater set up in the parking lot. Tickets are reasonable -- get'em while they last!

Oak Park Hot? Really?

Barbara Corcoran, a New York real estate mogul, picked Oak Park as one of her top five "sexiest" suburbs on ABC's "The View" yesterday. OK...

John M. Smyth Closing After 140 Years

Another sad, sad day for Chicago businesses. The 140-year-old John M. Smyth Homemakers furniture stores are closing their doors forever at the end of this month. The Sun-Times reports, "Homemakers, known for its warbling theme song in television ads, found itself bombarded by competitors ranging from discount stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and Costco, to specialty stores Crate & Barrel, Ikea, Rooms to Go, Walter E. Smithe and Ethan Allen."

Rules of the ride

We noted yesterday the city's plan to increase enforcement of traffic laws for cyclists. If writers to Eric Zorn are any indication, the issue has lots of people, ahem, exercised. Among Zorn's correspondents, the pro crackdown camp has been more vocal than those opposed, but what do you think? Join the discussion in Fuel.

Redmoon Rising

Redmoon Theater is offering an insider's sneak-peek at its upcoming show, Spectacle '05: Loves Me... Loves Me Not, at 7pm tonight. Meet on the back steps of the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore Drive, to watch the first on-site rehearsal of the performance. You'll have a chance to see the Redmoon artistic team take the first steps toward staging a large-scale spectacle on water. Loves ME... Loves Me Not is the second in Redmoon's series of ambitious outdoor spectacles, and will be performed on the lagoon September 16-25. For more information, please contact Oriana Fowler at 312-850-8440 ext.112.

Gay Games controversy continues

Although the Illinois Family Institute has apparently failed in its attempts to scare off corporate sponsors of next year's Gay Games, it has had greater success with five Cook Co. commissioners, all Republicans. The commissioners removed their names from a previously unanimous resolution endorsing the event and thanking its sponsors. On its website, the IFI asks supporters to thank these politicians, one of whom blamed his vote on his having "been out of the room." Organizers say they're not surprised; they, it seems, have other things to worry about, such as an upstart rival in Montreal that has, as of now, registered more athletes.

Found Tapes, Find Tapes

Tape Findings is a collection of found tape recordings, with mp3s of choice bits. And speaking of tapes, there's a treasure hunt of sorts to be had with the Chicago Tape Project -- find a mixtape and exchange it with one you make. Here's a map of some of the locations.

Bikes Are Vehicles, Too

Consider yourself warned: the bike cops are out, and they're making sure bicyclists are aware that they're subject to the same traffic laws as cars -- with warnings for now, but in August they start ticketing. No more blowing off stop signs, at least when there's a cop nearby. Read more on the city's bike program webpage.

Food + music

Big Delicious Planet, a local catering company, has a blog about food and music. They're catering this weekend's Lollapalooza festival, so expect some interesting updates.

Things you can tell...

Unlike some of her male colleagues, columnist Carol Marin has yet to write about the "real" women in those Dove ads, but she's definitely expressed some opinions on how to read the female body politic. Specifically, Marin has noticed that Judy Baar Topinka has dropped a few dress sizes, and she's convinced it means one thing: we ought to look for Topinka to run for governor in the next election.

Yours for but $22M

The Sun-Times reports the Highland Park home of Mickey Segal is on the market for $22 million. With grounds landscaped by Jens Jensen, the mansion features 7 bedrooms, 7 full bathrooms, a 4 car garage, and so on -- all of which sounds impressive in print. Black & white, though, is no match for full color. (NB: The listing's handy mortgage calculator indicates you need only have an annual income of $3.3M to qualify, assuming you're ready to put down 20%. Schedule your showing now!)

Sun-Times defending the caveman

Several male Sun-Times staffers made idiots of themselves today in expressing their opinions on Dove's Real Women, Real Curves ad campaign. As part of a feature package on the campaign, reporter Lucio Guerrero offered his opinion [second segment] that "most men don't like the ads," which show non-models of varying shapes and sizes in lingerie. Richard Roeper chimes in on the "chunky women" in his column, noting that "If I want to see plump gals baring too much skin, I'll go to Taste of Chicago." Bill Zwecker added his half-cent on the CBS-2 morning show and on their blog, suggesting that these perfectly normal women will make people "think it's okay to be out of shape." Way to go, guys. Glad to see we're growing and learning.

Let the crafting begin!

If you haven't seen a crafty friend in a while, it's probably because they're participating in one of Chicago's popularly crafty entrepreneurial events. The DIY Trunk Show announced their vendor list for this year's show. The Renegade Craft Fair will be posting their list of vendors soon. And the Chicago Craft Mafia kicks off the craft season with their first annual Summer Shakedown. So, if you know a crafter, make sure to check up on them this week. With as hot as it's going to be, and since they're a reclusive bunch, we all have to band together to make sure they survive this Heat Wave . And keep an eye on your elderly neighbors as well. You know they watch (out for) you.

Chicago Solar Partnership

Want to put all this hot sunshine to good use? Then visit the website for the Chicago Solar Partnership, which includes helpful information about renewable energy in Illinois. Find out about incentives for installing renewable energy technologies in your home, and check out a map of locations around Chicagoland that are using solar energy right now.

We're Dog Friendly -- Except for That One Guy ranked Chicago the dog-friendliest major city in the US, which always nice to hear. Unfortunately, someone's trying to sabotage that hard-earned reputation by chaining up and locking the gates to Dog Beach in Belmont Harbor.

LAX on attire

During their visit to the White House last week, Northwestern's NCAA Champion Women's Lacrosse team appeared in a photograph with President Bush. Several of the athletes were wearing flip-flops, a gaffe that has since created a minor controversy. Yesterday, in an interview on NBC's Today show, their coach announced some of the now-infamous shoes would be auctioned to benefit a 10-year old New York girl who became one of the team's biggest supporters this year, despite having a brain tumor. The auction, which starts today, will be held via the

Right Turns Made Easier

The city is conducting a traffic experiment at Washington and State in August: there will be a new right turn signal to let more cars get around the corner before the wave of pedestrians closes the opportunity. If the test works, expect other corners to be similarly outfitted.

"You: white belt and aviators. Me: white belt and aviators."

If you want your Intonation wrap-up more textual than visual, have a gander at the Craigslist missed connections this week. Our Chuck Taylors runneth over with hilarious name-drops and tortured romance (incidentally, "Did we make eyes during Les Savy Fav?" is the title of my upcoming neo-retro- garage-dance freak-folk harp album, the first in a series of concept albums exploring the national parks). I wonder why the kids didn't use their indie rocker pick-up lines?


The Washington Post marks a nearly-passed era with its profile of Chicago's last abattoir, Chiappetti Lamb and Veal. Even as Chiappetti stands as the final bastion of its industry, times continue to change. Because of ongoing gentrification of the stockyards area, the company will be moving its facilities within the next two years. Nevertheless, it has embraced the future: like any 21st Century survivor, Chiappetti's products are available online.

City's Wi-Fi plan needs your support

It's been a few months since we learned of the city's plans to study the need for and feasibility of a Chicago-wide wireless network. Since then, the group tasked with developing a strategy has evidently been pushing ahead: they're currently scheduling public hearings. The first of three will be held Thursday, the 21st, at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson, in room 3641, and it starts at 6:30pm. Residents and businesses are welcome to testify; interested persons should contact Aileen Kim at 773/736-5594. (Future meetings on the South and West Sides will follow, though details are not yet available.)

Intoning Flickr

Lots of photos from the Intonation Festival up on flickr.

Hardcore Histories

Mess Hall (which deserves an entry of its own) in Rogers Park is hosting a series of events called Hardcore Histories on the 21st, 23rd and 31st of July. Not quite about the sordid pasts of particpants and artists, the series will showcase and discuss hardcore punk and its offshoots from the early 80's to who's shaking things up today. The first day kicks off with a presentation and listening session called "Short, Fast, and Loud: A Seven-Inch Survey" — dig those records out and crank to 11 please.

If you're on Check Please, Don't Read This

If I had to pick one restaurant to send out of towners, last year it would have been Lula. This year though it'd be the brunch at Kitchen Chicago. An utterly fantastic crepe, delightful coffee, and a friendly chat with the proprieter... not to mention fresh bon-bons, best use of an oven ever, and the cutest cafe ever. And free Wi-Fi. Go here before everyone else does, it's fantastic. They only have Sunday Brunch for now, but meals will be coming to many weeknights near you as well.

Amateur Encyclopedists Wanted

Interested in writing about Chicago -- factually, not fictionally? You might be interested in contributing to Wikipedia's WikiProject Chicago, which aims to shape up and fill out Chicago's entry in the open-source encyclopedia. (Thanks, Atul!)

Funerals for 3 Chicago musicians

Last Friday, three Chicago musicians were killed in a traffic accident. Gone are: Doug Meis, the drummer for Exo and the Dials; John Glick, the guitarist for the Returnables; and Michael Dalquist, the drummer for Silkworm. If you knew these musicians or loved their music, you might want to attend the memorial services being planned for the three.

Flavin and beyond

Detroit's Metro News offers a handy guide to some of this summer's better art shows in the Midwest. The list can give you ideas for weekends out of town, or it might simply inspire you to head downtown to the MCA for the Dan Flavin retrospective. The Trib's review could hardly be more glowing (pardon the pun), and if you'd like a multi-media preview, there's this feature from the Washington Post about the exhibition's original installation in the National Gallery.

Spittin' Rhymes

If you're looking for an alternative to the Intonation goings-on, head over to Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen Ave., on Saturday (7/16) for Rhyme Spitters II, a showdown of local battle rappers. Four stages will feature battles from 1:30pm on; at 9:30pm, the top eight emcees from each stage will do battle at The Note, 1571 N. Milwaukee, with the winner walking away with $2,000. The battles in the park are free; the finals are $10. And the whole thing is being filmed for a documentary.

Chicago's Funniest Home Movies

Well, not necessarily funny -- they could be banal, creepy, sentimental... whatever they're like, as long as they're on film, not video, you've got a month to dig them out and bring them with you to Chicago's Home Movie Day celebration on August 13 at the Cultural Center. The Chicago Film Archives has more details.

Bex Spotting

Keep your eye out for soccer superstar David Beckham; he and Real Madrid are in town for a Saturday game against Mexico's Chivas at Soldier Field. It's sold out, and so is a Journey concert at Northerly Island, so if you can avoid that area of town, you probably should -- traffic's going to be a nightmare.

Chronically Cool

If you wake up everyday wondering if it's going to be a pain-filled day or if you'll be able to forget about your chronic illness and have fun, then Chronic Babe is for you. Local writer Jenni Prokopy (aka Mrs. Steve at the Movies) has been living with fibromyalgia for a few years. Instead of sitting on her sofa whining about it, she strapped on some comfy shoes and created this kick-a$$ website which lets you go from "Waanh" to "Rowr-sexy!" in just a few posts. Yep, she's not here to tell you how to get healed, just how to enjoy life while you're living with what ails you. And if you want to support this hot chronic babe, you can buy the Chronic Babe Bag.

The ten-year plan

Chicago's hosting the Gay Games in 2006, right? Well, if Maggie Haskins of Sports Illustrated has anything to say about it, the city would hold the Olympic Games just a decade later. Haskins writes an impassioned plea, going so far as to specifically call on Oprah and the mayor to get behind the idea. Thing is, she paints a picture rosy enough that it all starts to sound not just feasible, but pretty darn appealing. [via]

Hydration, all I ever wanted

Ah, yes. One last Intonation-related post. This to let you know that, opinionated as their reviews may be, the folks at Pitchfork have a heart: contrary to prior word, the concert organizers have now announced you may bring two sealed water bottles into the park. That's a good thing, as both days are currently forecast at 90+. For those excited, there's the countdown or social networking via Upcoming. For those less so, there's Chicagomuzik's clip-and-save map. (Of course, the jokes there are all of the meta, Seth Cohen variety, so maybe best to scroll on past and remember it'll all be over soon.)

A Faster Pour

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about TurboTap, a local company helping to get your beer to you faster. If you've had a beer at Wrigley this year, there's a good chance a TurboTap was involved.

Turn that waste into gold

Gardening gold that is! If you're amazed at the amount of food waste you create, then you might be interested in picking up a compost bin. The Garfield Conservatory is selling the bins for $25 and they're specifically designed for use in the city so no worries about your eggshells being consumed by the neighborhood creatures that go *squeak* in the night. It's a one-day only sale July 23, so get there early. Cause when they're gone, they're gone! (Thanks, Fil!)

Bastille Day festivities

It's Bastille Day, a French holiday that celebrates the storming of the Bastille. Francophile celebrations are rampant in Chicago. Metromix has a partial rundown of of culinary events, though chances are if you call your favorite French restaurant they have a special prix fixe dinner arranged. There's also a Bastille Day 5K run/walk, or you could visit the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the Art Institute.

Transfer to the Orange, Brown and McDonald's line!

The CTA hired a consulting firm in March to analyze its operations, and to make suggestions on how to increase productivity and revenues. Among the suggestions that the consultants presented at a CTA board meeting yesterday: outsourcing real estate management; adding more ATMs to stations; and ... selling corporate sponsorship and possibly naming rights to El stations and lines. CTA Prez Frank Kreusi says that the ideas presented "need to be explored further", to see how much money they could generate. (And, hopefully, how many consumers would react negatively to having to ride a train line named after a corporation.)

3-Day Novel Contest

Think NaNoWriMo is just too easy? Want a greater challenge? The 2005 3-Day Novel Contest is now accepting applications for their 72 hour September writing spree. Grand prize is publication. For a preview of the contest's results, head to Quimby's in August for a reading of last year's Chicago-based winners. Better start sharpening your pencils now.

Woo Lost and Woo Found

To follow up on Tuesday's post, Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers is alive and well and, in fact, apparently doesn't even have a wife to report he's missing. The reports of his disappearance were discussed on WLS-AM Tuesday afternoon, and according to the Trib: "Within seconds, Wickers was on the air proclaiming, in his inimitable fashion, 'I'm alive, woo, I'm alive, woo.'"

Going to the Dogs

Big news concerning the dog beaches and other "dog friendly areas" in the city parks: the Cook County Department of Animal Control has decided to require the park district to follow some rules it was previously exempt from. The dog beaches must now be fenced in, and all dogs must be licensed and fingerprinted... so to speak. Read the details at

Lefkow back on the bench

As both the Trib and AP noted, Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow returned to work Tuesday, sitting on the bench for the first time since the murder of her husband and mother this winter. In a follow-up interview with the New York Times, Lefkow says she felt good to be back in court, with her assistant commenting, "It was almost just like a typical day in the office." The judge will keep an irregular, unannounced schedule for the next few months and will resume full-time service in the fall.

Water Tank Make-over

This year's Chicago Prize competition from Chicago Architecture Club seeks new uses for the dis-used water tanks atop buildings around the city. First prize is $3500. Got an idea? You have until July 25 to ask questions, and till October 11 to complete your entry. (Thanks, Emily)

Yuppies Are Our Creation

Did you know the term yuppie originated in Chicago? According to Wikipedia, Bob Greene is generally credited with coining the term in a 1983 column, but etymologist Barry Popik found an earlier instance in a Tribune article by R.C. Longworth, referring to "Lincoln Park with its yuppies."

The Long Haul down to Arkansas

Chicago-based radio team Long Haul Productions recently worked with indie buzz boy Sufjan Stevens to produce a segment for NPR's All Things Considered, and they've just posted it on their website. Beyond the Stevens collaboration, though, the husband and wife team makes ten years of archives available, including many stories about Chicago like this recent one on Our Lady of the Underpass. (And, while we're on the topic, we may as well mention that Stevens will be performing songs from Illinois tomorrow on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, accessible here.)

The Heat Wave of 1995

On July 13, 1995, the temperature in Chicago was recorded at 106 degrees, setting the high mark in a week-long heat wave that ultimately claimed over 700 heat-related deaths. Ten years after the Chicago heat wave, the city has since mobilized 17,000 people in the city to check up on the elderly, a group of people that was most affected by the 1995 heat. And as author Eric Klinenberg (Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago) notes, Chicago is still learning from the 1995 experience and trying to improve its response to hot weather. Meanwhile, the high today will be around 83 degrees, so check out the city's tips for dealing with hot weather.

Another day, another bomb threat

Life on the CTA has been a nightmare over the past few days, with the Trib reporting a bomb threat on the Purple Line during this afternoon's rush period. The incident follows a similar hoax on the Brown Line Sunday and an evacuation of the Red Line at Berwyn last Friday due to an unattended suitcase. There was also a Red Line stoppage yesterday, but it was apparently for reasons happier than potential acts of destruction: a passenger went into labor at Morse. Update: Or apparently not. As information trickles in, Kevin O'Neil has updated the post again. In contrast to the claims of one of his commenters, the Sun-Times has now reported that the Morse delay was in fact another threat, this time from an on-board passenger.

Where's Woo Woo?

Wrigleyville staple Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers was reported missing by his wife today. Mrs. Wickers says she hasn't seen the Woo since June 29. NBC5 says that several viewers have already emailed to report Woo Woo sightings in the intervening time, and we're pretty sure we've spotted him too.

Time running out on Marathon registration

The Chicago Marathon is three months away, but registration for the event is almost full. If you were planning to participate, you'd better register soon, because the 40,000-person limit on the event will probably be reached this week. If you don't make it into the marathon, you can always vote for your favorite T-shirt design for the event. It's not as prestigious as being in the marathon, of course, but then again you don't have to run 26.2 miles to cast your vote. (thanks to Jake for the tip)

Local Authors Talk

Wondering what's up with blogs becoming books? How the literary landscape is changing in the digital age? What Kevin Guilfoile sounds like? You might be interested in this Authors' Roundtable that GB is sponsoring. It's July 25 at Sulzer Library, 7-9pm. More details here.

Naperville's No. 3!

Naperville, that big suburb to our west, is the third best place to live in America, according to Money Magazine, which praised its "seamless coexistence of big-city and small-town life." Guess we need to get moving on

You've got ads

Let's say you're a fan of Shylo's Public Notice column (and, really, how could you not be?). But maybe, every now and again, you get a hankering for some mid-week Missed Connections. Whizalert is here to help. The free service searches Craigslist and sends you email alerts based on your customized settings. Never miss a w4w in Lincoln Square again! (Also works for apartment listings and more practical interests, but that's hardly as fun, is it?) [via, and, as the comments note, you can do similar things with RSS feeds]

At the movies

Today is the start of the 6th annual Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park. This year's film list has been selected by Roger Ebert, who also gets his own official day in Chicago today. Roger Ebert Day will be marked by placing a commemorative plaque in the sidewalk of the Chicago Theater -- just across the street from the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Northwestern Summer Writers' Conference

This just sounds like an all around good time. Northwestern is sponsoring their first Summer Writers' Conference, a three day affair on July 22-24. The programs and readings include such names as Joe Meno, Audrey Niffenegger, Kevin Guilfoile and Elizabeth Crane. Although the conference isn't free, the readings and performances are, so it's worth checking out the program schedule to see your favorite local writers. The always lovely Slowdown has all the details.

More on the I.O.

Following the 50th anniversary of the first performance by The Compass Players, the Sun-Times gives a little history on the small group of University of Chicago students who spawned a world of improv. The article traces the group's beginnings, citing the influence it had on such troupes as Second City, ImprovOlympic, ComedySportz and the Annoyance Theatre. We knew the U of C kids were smart, but who knew they also had a sense of humor?

Underpass Mary, meet Streetlight Jesus

If you missed seeing the streetlight in East Chicago that casts a shadow that looks like Jesus, then you're out of luck; the mayor has ordered the lamp turned off, in order to disperse crowds that gathered near the lamp at night, blocking the street and congregating until 5 in the morning.

Slurpee for Free

We're all about the free stuff: 7-11 is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Slurpee today, 7/11/2005. Find your nearest store and pick up a free slushy sweet concoction. (Thanks, Eamon)

INXS of Reality

We know you'll be watching tonight anyway, but now you have another reason to tune in to "Rock Star: INXS" -- Lovehammers singer Marty Casey will be one of the contestants trying to become INXS's new lead singer.

VinceWatch 2005

It seems that nearly everyone in Chicago is spotting Lake Forest-raised Vince Vaughn around town while he's filming The Break Up with that girl from Friends, and now I can add my name to that number. I was just a few feet away from the scruffy movie star at the Willie Nelson/Bob Dylan show out at Alexian Field in Schaumburg on Sunday. I was lucky enough to even snap a photo. Maybe he'll try to catch some more Willie today at noon.

I hope they remembered to trademark "The Harold"

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Chicago's ImprovOlympic comedy club is changing its name to the not-too-descriptive I.O., after the Olympic committee threatened to sue the theater for trademark infringement. The theater company started in 1981, has a companion theater in L.A., and is credited with starting the careers of way too many funny people to list here. Will the comedy be just as funny under the new name? We shall see....

Willie Nelson in Grant Park on Monday

Got an email today from local CSA Angelic Organics with some dish: want to see Willie and John Mellencamp tomorrow? Supposedly they will appear at Grant Park Monday at noon to announce the line-up for the 20th anniversary FarmAid concerts. (Look for them at the Growing Power Garden, just north and west of Buckingham Fountain.)

Rolling Start

The Windy City Rollers kick off their season tonight at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee. It's the Manic Attackers versus The Fury, then the Double Crossers versus Hell's Belles. Doors open at 5pm, and the match gets started at 6pm -- tickets are only $10. Check out some crazy roller derby action!

Searching for Stevie Bartman

ESPN feature writer Wayne Drehs tracked down "the most reclusive man in sports" on a quest to get some answers. Instead, he ended up giving Steve Bartman an apology.

North by northwest

Curious about why Chicago's north/south streets don't quite pass muster on the compass? Just enquire at Ask MetaFilter; no doubt the folks there will be happy to debate the answer. As for the grid system, Alice has that covered in an archived Ask the Librarian.


Hot on the heels of the iPod flea, Chicago-based industrial designer (and sometime Gapers contributor) Craig Berman has an idea I can actually imagine gaining traction: the iButton. Sized no larger than a 1" band badge, Berman imagines the micro iPod playing singles while adorning the blazer/hoodie combos of the hipster masses. Calling Steve Jobs...

Trib Calling

You know those "What's in it for you?" ads the Tribune has been running? Apparently the song they use, "Anthem" by local commercial scoring co. Scandal Music, has been so popular that they're offering it as a free mp3 and cellphone ringtone.

Free headset

I'm sure you know that it's now illegal to talk on a cellphone without a headset while you're driving. But it's possible that you haven't been able to get your hands on a headset, or maybe you'd just rather spend that money on something else. Thanks to $3.94 will pay for the shipping of your free headset to anywhere in the US and Canada. They're based in San Diego, and Dood, they're trying to make the roads safer.

Old Time Movies in Old Irving Park

The LaSalle Bank Cinema, 4901 W. Irving Park, shows The Power and the Glory tonight correction, tomorrow night at 8pm. The 1933 film tells the life story of a railroad tycoon in out-of-sequence episodes, a structure that was a big influence on Citizen Kane, which came out eight years later. Also on the bill is Reducing Creme, a Willie Whopper cartoon. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and children. Call 312/904-9442 for more info.

Both kinds of music: exotica and folk

Two big music festivals are happening this weekend in the Chicago area, and there's plenty of music to go 'round. First, if you get yourself over to Fitzgerald's in Berwyn tomorrow afternoon, you can experience the main event of the Luau by the Lake festival: a 12-hour show/luau featuring two music stages, over a dozen performances by various exotic artists (such as King Kukulele and Los Straightjackets), an aloha attire contest, and much much more. If you can't make it out to the 'burbs, you can enjoy the Folk and Roots Festival in Welles Park, which will feature loads of musical and dance performers, dance lessons throughout the day, and performances by the staff of the nearby Old Town School of Folk Music. Both festivals run through Sunday; see their respective Websites for full details. (And for you go-go enthusiasts, both festivals will feature performances by the World Famous Pontani Sisters.)

Foreshortened Odyssey, Schadenfreude

In today's Reader, Hot Type reveals that WBEZ's board has canceled Odyssey and Schadenfreude and put Stories On Stage on a year's hiatus. "I feel like we knew this day would come even before we started the project, but for Gretchen [Helfrich, host of Odyssey] it's a bit more shocking," said Justin Kaufmann, producer of Schadenfreude, who has more to say on his blog. The shows will go off the air this fall. If you're interested in trying to sway the board's decision, these email addresses and phone numbers might be of use, or hit the listener comment board.

Now with Photos

Chicago.Photobloggers has redesigned, and it's lovely. In addition to having actual photos on the site, they're looking for contributors to write articles about photography and photoblogging. More info here.

'80s Burlesque? Yes!

Want to see some fine ladies shake it to classic '80s tunes? Join Miss Exotic World 2005 Michelle L'Amour at Subterranean tonight! She and her marvelous Sugarbabies will perform burlesque routines, leg warmers flailing, to Michael Jackson, Motley Crue, Tony Basil and more! A truly fabulous burlesque experience is to be had. It's just $5 and starts at 9:30pm.

Division, one bar at a time

The Times just did a piece detailing Division's storefront gentrification, with a rundown of the neighborhood's bars, restaurants, shops, and spas.

One Year, One Night Only

Rotofugi, our favorite toy store, just turned one year old, and to celebrate, they've got two events coming up in the next week. Tomorrow night is the opening for Crossover, an exhibit of designer toys customized by other designers and featuring an appearance by Sket One. And next Wednesday, grab a blank t-shirt and drop by for a one-night-only visit by LMAC. They'll screenprint your shirt while you wait.

Today's Front Pages

Today's Front Pages is a very neat website that allows you to scroll over maps of the continents and browse the current front pages of the world's newspapers. Comparing which stories make the front pages in various parts of the country--or the world--is fascinating. Roll your cursor over the Chicago area to compare headlines from the Sun-Times, Tribune, Red Eye, Red Streak, Daily Herald, Northwest Herald and even the Rockford Register Star. Cool.

Local transit on alert

Following this morning's apparent terrorist attacks on the London transport grid, the Trib reports that the CTA and Metra are putting additional security in place. As always, riders are asked to contact appropriate staff or emergency services at 911 if they see any suspicious activity.

Back in Time: The photographs of Edmund Teske

Should our current fuel question have you pining for the days of old Chicago, you may find some satisfaction in the Art Institute photography galleries. Edmund Teske captured compelling images of the city as it was in the 30's and 40's. Not quite the same as being there, but about as good as it gets.

Bookslut Reading Series

The Chicago-based literary website is launching a monthly reading series featuring local and national authors. These live events will take place at the Hopleaf bar located at 5148 N. Clark St., also a favorite Gapers Block staff hang-out. On July 26, the first reading is scheduled to include writers Shalom Auslander, Daphne Kalotay and Andrew Winston. So go and see them, sluts. The fun starts at 7:30pm.

About those seats

A recent Fuel asked about gross things readers had seen on local transit. Today, the CTA Tattler follows up on who's to blame for one of the many complaints we heard: the El's replacement of molded plastic with upholstered seating.

A Gorier War

Hot on Spielberg's tail, New York Review of Books has released a new edition of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds, complete with illustrations from Chicago native, and sometime School of the Art Institute student, Edward Gorey. The Tribune's cultural critic gives the pairing a positive, if somewhat geeky, review.

Transmission: Greg Davis

"This is the sound of ghosts...The record annihilates the senses. Davis has made a completely engrossing book of echoes...and to see it in person must be a challenging and fresh experience." Experimental artist Greg Davis is featured in this week's Transmission, brought to you by the music lovers at Pixies Discs. And, yes, the MP3 is supposed to sound that way.

Talking about heat

We've been having a real summer this year for the first time since '99, when we had temps above 100 degrees and blackouts! On that note, The Public Square, an intellectual group, is hosting a conversation between Eric Klinenberg, author of Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago and WBEZ's 848 host Steve Edwards tomorrow evening from 6:30-8pm at the Illinois Humanities Council and the Children and Family Justice Center of Northwestern Law School. They will discuss the heat wave and events surrounding the summer of 1995. More details here.

Small and Round and new

Small and Round, Chicago artist Jeremiah Ketner's work and world of fancy has been updated with a year's worth of work. Which means that there's now stuff for sale. Go, buy and hang a piece of excellent art on your wall.

Yet Another GoogleMaps App

Actually, this one takes advantage of Google Earth: Prudential Preferred Properties has created a plug-in for the 3D mapping program that allows you to see the location of homes for sale in Chicagoland with the company. (Still Windows only, alas.)

The Great Divide

Did you know that there's more than one continental divide? One of them happens to run through Oak Park. (via Coudal)

Christmas in July -

If you're searching for a truly unique gift, I don't think you can go wrong with the Mama Meow catalogue. Based here in Chicago, it is over 30 pages of cat crap like you've never seen before. The killer pages are the T-Shirts. Don't you know a friend who wants to celebrate our freedom with a Proud American Cats T-shirt or Ladies Of The Night. Captivating and bizarre.

Beyond Illinois

WBEZ is going to open a bureau in Chesterton, expanding its coverage of Northwest Indiana. And continuing the Sufjan Stevens onslaught, 848 aired an interview with him today.

A Magazine for Local Foodies

Chicago Foodie magazine debuts this month from Best Chefs, which offers cooking classes and local food tours. Haven't seen it on stands yet, but keep your eye out. (It's not clear if the mag has anything to do with, a foodie blog with annoying pop-up ads. I'm guessing not.)

Huff on the make

If you can't get enough GB, you might be interested to know that Editor-In-Chief Andrew Huff is guest blogging for Coudal Partners this month. Expect things you won't see here over there. And, if that's not enough, Andrew's personal site, Me3dia has been redesigned by ahem, me.

Hands-free by Friday, or else!

Cell phone users, don't forget that this Friday a new city law goes into effect that forbids the use of the phones while driving, unless you're using a hands-free headset. (Use of the phone will cost you a $50 ticket, which goes up to $200 if you're using your phone during a traffic accident.) But, as the Sun-Times notes today, local stores have been running out of headsets, so you might want to start looking around today to get your headset by the end of the week.

The Living News and the Game of Hurt

50 years ago today, improv comedy was born when a group of University of Chicago students took to the stage under the name "The Compass" and presented a show based on the news of the day and suggestions from their audience. Tonight, in conjunction with the Chicago Improv Festival, a group of current U of C students will recreate the Compass' first show, performed on July 5, 1955. See Slowdown for details.

Illinois Delayed

Here we are, with an interview with Sufjan Stevens timed for the release of his new album, Illinois, and it's been delayed by "legal issues with the artwork" for the album. Various music blogs (including Between thought and expression) are reporting that DC Comics has issued a cease and desist order because the album's cover features an image of Superman.

Cult of Abby Ryan

Every so often -- more than you'd expect -- someone emails GB asking if we know how to get information about Abby Ryan, the traffic reporter for WBEZ and five other area radio stations. All those people are about to get lucky: reader Ed just discovered that she has a website, complete with pictures (more here) for those who want to put a face to the voice.


The University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel is home to a giant musical instrument known as a carillon. Every Sunday this summer the chapel is hosting a series of free recitals featuring University Carillonneur Wylie Crawford along with guest artists from across the United States and Europe. The concerts start at 6 pm, but come at 5:30 pm to climb the stairs of the bell tower and get a look at the giant bells of the carillon-- not to mention a breathtaking view of the downtown skyline.

Supreme Court Justice resigns; locals rally

Just in case you get all of your news from Gapers Block, you might be interested to know that Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor resigned today. She was a swing voter and a true moderate on the bench. The local Planned Parenthood chapter, Chicago NOW, and many other groups are getting together to raise a little noise and remind our senators that abortion rights, gay rights, and civil rights are important. If you'd like to join in, plan on taking a long lunch on Tuesday. Times and locations:
In Chicago: Federal Plaza (Adams & Dearborn), 5:30pm In Arlington Heights: The Daily Herald (155 E. Algonquin Rd.), 6:00pm In St. Charles: The Daily Herald (3805 E. Main St.), 6:00pm A list of all participating organizations: Coalition Partners: Access Living ▪ Chicago Foundation for Women ▪ Chicago NOW ▪ Chicago NOW PAC ▪ Citizen Action / Illinois ▪ Illinois NOW ▪ Metro Seniors in Action ▪ Northwest Chicago Choice ▪ Northwest Suburban NOW ▪ Personal PAC ▪ People For the American Way Midwest Regional Office ▪ Planned Parenthood – Chicago Area ▪ Sergeant Shriver’s National Center for Poverty Law ▪ Sierra Club of Illinois ▪ Westside Ministers Coalition ▪ Women Employed

A Very Different Weekend

If you want to get out of town and do something different this weekend, you could try the Three Hills Rodeo in Galena that's happening this weekend. And if driving to Galena is too far for a rodeo, then get ready for the Windy City Rodeo in August.

Gapers Block & Chicagoist on Late Night Late Show

We know you've got a lot going on this weekend, but maybe you can add this to your list: Gapers Block editor Andrew Huff (me) will be a guest on ImprovOlympic's "Late Night Late Show" Saturday night at midnight, along with Rachelle Bowden from Chicagoist. We're supposedly talking about weblogs, but seeing as it's an improv talk show, chances are it'll be a bit wacky. Tickets are $5; for reservations, call the box office at 773-880-0199.

Bob Novak as the lynchpin

Developments in the Miller/Cooper case have come fast and furious since the Supreme Court's action earlier this week. Focus has once again returned to the role of Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak, with many asking why he seems to be allowing his fellow journalists to go to jail, a charge he flatly denies. Now some S-T internecine conflict emerges, as Novak's colleague Carol Marin says she can't understand why he won't speak up. The other Chicago connection to this debacle is US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, another figure about whom people have been asking questions; he is profiled today in the Wall Street Journal, as the Trib's editorial page wonders if he may be on a "fishing expedition."

Dude, I Got the Munchies

According to this article at, Chicago's City Council has just banned all pot-flavored candy — including Tony Van Pelt's Chronic Candy line — even though no illegal ingredients are used in these products. Other cities are apparently about to follow suit. [via TMN]

Fixie (and me) on the radio

A while ago, I was interviewed for a radio piece about fixed gear bikes for Studio 360, a WNYC/Public Radio show that gets aired everywhere across the nation in cities except Chicago. Funny since it was produced here. Fortunately, there's online radio and while thousands across the nation will hear me wax poetic about bikes, we in Chicago can listen online (lower right, Design for the Real World).

Open the film fest doors, Hal

The Siskel Film Center begins a month-long Stanley Kubrick retrospective tonight with a screening of his 1955 film Killer's Kiss. Over the course of July, moviegoers will have a chance to see such classics as The Killing, Spartacus, Paths of Glory, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and even Steven Spielberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence, which was a project Kubrick was working on at the time of his death. Looks like it'll be another banner month at the Film Center.



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