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

Gapers Block

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The Crime of the (19th) Century

This week marks the 120th anniversary of the Haymarket Riot. Accordingly, All Things Considered interviewed James Green, author of the recently published Death in the Haymarket, about the events of May 4, 1886, and the NPR website offers additional commentary about the modern-day meaning of the affair, as well as an excerpt from Green's book.

Thanks for the Cash!

You thought your absurd and/or nightmarish MySpace stories were only good for amusing your friends; this Craigslist post suggests otherwise.

Town for Sale

When it comes to civic naming opportunities, it seems the Skyway may not be the end of it. The Trib reports on the city's efforts to, in the words of its budget director, "maximize value" by enticing corporations into building-, event-, even vehicle-sponsorship.

Rappers' DIY

After Kanye, Common and Twista have blown up, Illinois Entertainer asks what of Chicago's indie hip-hop labels?

Loop de Looper

Looper is a "quasi-daily architectural photoblog generally focused in and around the Loop;" if only we could all proselytize so well about our urban environment. Read and be inspired.

Buying A New Bike

The weather is getting nicer and Chicago will be filled with (even more) bicycles soon. If you're looking to purchase an old-school Schwinn or similar affordable ride, you might check out this post on Craigslist. If you can't make it, don't forget the good work that the volunteers of Working Bikes do as well, and they also sell vintage cycles. Don't want a used bike? This site has all of the bikeshops in Chicago, and feedback on what people think of the service.

I Hate My Developer

I didn't actually hate mine, but I wouldn't say I was in love with him after we found out about all the corners that were cut. The Woodlawn Wonder has been writing since August of last year after she became a member of her condo board. If you're thinking of buying a condo, or if you have a condo and are questioning your developer there are 9 months of posts that might help answer your questions or spur you to action. The links list alone is a worth a visit.

"Prayer Seiges" Based in Chicago

There's a group in Chicago called Bound 4 Life. No, it's not a band — well, not that kind of band. This group of young adults aims to demonstrate, through "Prayer Seiges," their opposition to abortion. At first I was just really excited to see what a "Prayer Seige" was, but after reading some history of the group I had these flashbacks of driving down Ridge with all these graphic anti-abortion posters surrounding me and... well, you can read about Bound 4 Life right here.

Have a Beer with Us

Does the current Fuel question have you thirsty? Quench it tonight by joining GB staffers at Chief O'Neill's after 9pm for our monthly Get-Together. Details in Slowdown; since it's supposed to be pretty cold tonight, we'll be inside instead of on their patio.

The two best beans in Chicago get together.

Today, the third Intelligentsia coffee house opens at 53 and 55 E. Randolph, just down the street from Cloud Gate. If you go today, you might even get your espresso from this year's best barista in America, Matthew Riddle.

So You're Staying Up for HPAC's 36-Hour Opening

After sampling scenes from Caffeine Theatre's repertory, free coffee gets you through Stage Left's late night symposium on political theater. By midnight, you've switched to booze and hit the dance floor, taking a break at 2am to try ceramics with a less-than-steady hand. The next morning, Industry of the Ordinary serves up pancakes, helping you get over your hangover. Are you imagining things or is your breakfast telling you that it loves you? At the 34-hour mark, the pancake cooks mount an expedition to climb the chimney. They hoist a flag and you cheer, shortly before passing out. See Slowdown for details on Hyde Park Art Center's opening event.

Talking in Circles

Next week, the CTA is holding a series of public meetings to gather input on the proposed Circle Line. According to the news release, "The meetings are part of the Alternatives Analysis study — the first step in pursuing federal funding for major transit projects. The Alternatives Analysis study is designed to examine all the transit options available and determine a locally preferred alternative." The meetings are 6-8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Can You Talk a Beautiful Game?

Public radio program Worldview is recruiting a commentator for its 2006 World Cup coverage. Is it in you? Read the application details at the show's website, and let the footy begin.

CSO Names New Dirigent

So, the CSO has finally found a new conductor. Dutch-born Bernard Haitink will take up the baton, sharing the duties with Pierre Boulez, who has had a long-standing relationship with the orchestra. While not quite the superstar like Solti or Barenboim, hopefully Mr. Haitink will come to like the city and musicians a bit more than Mr. Barenboim did. And will he meet the CSO's previous requirement of "[increasing] the blend of socializing and community outreach that the CSO will expect of its new music director."

"Chicago" is Good

Wikipedia's Chicago entry has been voted "good article collaboration of the week." This means the entry is "among the best...of Wikipedia articles, but...flaws [are] holding [it] back." To help eliminate the flaws, join the conversation. (Thanks, Sandy!)


Wish you could trade that heavy BioChem book you never read for something truly valuable like the collected works of Freud or maybe the Pirates of the Caribbean dvd? Thanks to SwapSimple, you can. Started by a couple of local college grads as an attempt to stick it to the publishing man, it's been going and growing online for about a year. The coolest thing is that the recipient of your BioChem book pays for that shipping and you pay for dvd shipping. Rumor has it they're servers at a local restaraunt so the $2 per order charge obviously isn't making them rich, but I bet they'd accept tips.

Midget Wrestling Returns

Former Mancow dwarf sidekick Puppet is back with his midget wrestling team, now known as Half Pint Brawlers. They'll be at Bar Chicago tonight — and there will be protesters to greet them.

An Alternative to Metromix

Somehow we've managed not to write about it, but Yelp. Founded in 2004 in San Francisco, Yelp has been helping Chicagoans find good places to eat and drink for quite a while now. It now covers dentists, hairstylists and other professions, too — all reviewed and rated by regular people.

Watch the Trains with a Widget

If you've given up on receiving CTA Wireless Alerts, well, wirelessly, you can stay abreast of developments at your desktop with a Yahoo! widget. [via]

No More Foie Gras

If you're a connoisseur of foie gras, you've got 90 days to get your fill: City Council banned it from Chicago today. Mayor Daley was duly annoyed: "We have children getting killed by gang leaders and dope dealers. We have real issues here in this city. And we're dealing with foie gras? Let's get some priorities." (Thanks, Dave!)

Performance in the Passing Lane

Get stuck in the Gold Coast during rush hour tonight, and you might just see performance artist Bill Shannon fly by on a skateboard, propelling himself forward with steel crutches. Shannon has been skating in traffic for 15 years, and now shares that experience with audiences at the MCA who will trail him in a CTA bus tricked out with video screens and a DJ. When asked how Chicago traffic compares to other cities, he noted that Windy City drivers tend to pass in the far right lane and drive really quickly due to the length of Chicago blocks and good visibility. See Slowdown for more details.

And More Movies

Hot on the heels of the Latino Film Festival, Cinema/Chicago, in collaboration with the Global Film Initiative, presents Global Lens 2006, a new week-long program of international films -- for those of us who just can't wait till next October for the Film Festival. The new series starts next Friday, 5 May, and continues through the following Friday. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

El Cine Latino

The 22nd Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival started last weekend and runs through Thursday 4 May, with movies playing at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, the Gene Siskel Film Center, and Facets Cinematheque. Click here for a complete screening schedule.

Stallman Speaks at UIC

Richard Stallman, who is the Moses of the Free Software movement, is coming to speak at UIC on Friday morning. Known genius and controversial figure, he's an engaging speaker who doesn't blunt words. Get there early--it is expected that the hall will fill up.

Big in Japan

Sumo wrestling is finally escaping its Japanese borders and making a push into the States with the new World Sumo League, run by the WWE's ex-CFO. How much fun will it be to watch mountainous men push each other around inside a circle? We'll find out May 27, when the national tour hits the Allstate Arena. Tickets go on sale this Friday; follow the phenomenon at, an unofficial site run by local blogger Matt Maldre.

Mart Chicago

Art Chicago has found a home for its wayward exhibition: The Merchandise Mart. Many of the galleries that were scheduled to exhibit have pulled out, though, shrinking this year's show to around 100 galleries, and they'll be competing for attention in the Mart with the Chicago Antiques Fair, also going on this weekend -- although that could turn out to be beneficial for both shows.

Damen Studio, closed

Sarah Hadley writes in with some sad news — Damen Studio has closed due to the financial and time constraints that come part and parcel with such a endeavor. This also means that the slated Supernatural show that we mentioned will not be happening. Here's to the future successes of both Sarah and Amor!

Not A Gas

The Citizens' Utility Board has issued a press release instructing Chicagoans to beware of door-to-door representatives of U.S. Energy Savings Corp, who are using pushy, deceptive tactics to get people to switch gas providers. There's an account here. [via Consumerist]

Act now to save 7.14% on Lollapalooza

Red Eye is reporting that Lollapalooza passes will be increasing from $130 to $140 (plus surcharges) on Thursday, when Perry Farrell will hold a press conference to announce even more performers. So if you want to save that $10, buy today.

Tightening the Smoking Ban Belt

Starting this summer (two years before you'll be prevented from smoking in bars in Chicago) nearby Evanston will ban smoking in public places. The Evanston City Council voted last night to start a smoking ban on July 1, which will include restaurants and bars. This comes well ahead of Chicago's full smoking ban implementation, but only about 8 1/2 months before Cook County's ban will take effect. Still, aldermen in Evanston say that the Chicago ban gave them the push to create their own (after over a decade of discussion and debate).

Chicago's Most Wanted

A Chicago police officer is a finalist in an "all star first responder" contest on "America's Most Wanted." Alphonsus O'Connor saved a railroad police officer's life after a man pulled a gun and started shooting. Help him win the award (and $10,000 prize) by voting before May 8.

Have it Any Way You Like

Art Chicago may have moved out of the park, but with the Nova Art Fair opening and the Version festival ongoing this weekend, there's no shortage of cool work to check out. This weekend you can see art raw in a converted warehouse in Bridgeport, or at Belmont on the train. You can see it in a bar, or in the suites of a hotel. You can even see it all night long.

The Life has Landed

New York Magazine on This American Life's arrival in the Big Apple. Gapers Block on its departure from the Windy City.

Corruption, For Better and Worse

The Daily Herald's John Patterson rounds up some opinions on the good and bad of graft in Illinois politics. Depending on whom you ask, either "the breadth and volume of the problem in this state is absolutely without compare" or "that's what we get periodically as the price of getting things done." [via]

Mortified By Poetry?

In a world of text messaging, IM, and email, I often wonder how many tawdry notes are passed in class, filled with tortured poetry or Led Zepplin lyrics. Mortified is your chance to find out, and you can even submit your own now for their casting call in June in Chicago. (Thanks, Alexis)

Donors needed

Sacred Art, a new gallery/store in Roscoe Village that sells artwork and crafts from local artists, is planning to have a blood drive on Saturday, May 6, but it needs a few more people to sign up for the event before Lifesource will even show up! If you were thinking of donating blood in the near future, please check out the event details (which include discounts at plenty of Roscoe Village businesses for donors) in Slowdown.

No Art in Chicago?

Art Chicago in the Park, the annual contemporary art fair that was scheduled to open this weekend in Grant Park, may not be happening. The Tribune reports that all work has apparently ceased at the fair's site. Art dealers are waiting to hear what's going on with the event, but prospects are apparently not good.

Mayo's Bike Day

Fellow cyclist and friend Mayonnaise (a moniker) is having a Bike Day at the loading dock of 800 N. Michigan Ave from 1 to 3:30PM this Friday (4/28). Stop by for a quick in n' out bike tune up. He's doing it out of the goodness of his heart but he'll have a mayo jar for any donations to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. [Apologies for the date mix-up!]

Beer and Geeks

Like beer? Like science? Head to Map Room at 6:30pm on Wednesday for the inaugural session of Cafe Scientific, where UofC's Sean Carroll will present the topic and subsequent discussion, "Why is the past different from the future? -- Cosmological perspectives on the nature of time." Discuss over beers. (Thanks, Ian!)

Bridge Out

It's not a NASCAR crash or a shattered backboard, but if you're Joshua Bell of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a collapsed bridge on your 1713 Stradivarius is pretty darn dramatic.

Abstinent Until They're Not

I can count the number of people I know who waited to have sex until they were married on one finger. And now that this person is married, sex is a given. Which means that all folks, even the children of the future, need to have age-appropriate and accurate health information. If you want think its important for Chicago Public Schools students to have this info, then you might be interested in telling the CPS Board of Education to vote for the Family Life and Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Policy. Click now since they're voting on Wednesday.

Here's some facts from the Illinois Coalition of Adolescent Health:
* The Youth High Risk Behavior Survey reports that nearly half of all CPS students are sexually active
* National data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that by age 24, 89% of males and 92% of females have had sexual intercourse
* The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports that nearly 6,000 infants were born to teen parents in Chicago in 2003
* Youth age 15-24 comprised 71% of Chlamydia and 61% of Gonorrhea cases reported in Illinois in 2002 (IDPH)
* Statewide research conducted by the Illinois Campaign for Responsible Sex Education found that 66% of classrooms in Illinois are not providing students with a comprehensive approach to sex education, and that 92% of sex education teachers believe that students, whether or not they are sexually active, should receive accurate information on birth control and safe sex in school

Rule #1: Don't Blog About Work

Apparently all those scare stories on the news didn't sink in with one Chicago teacher. He wrote all sorts of trash talk about his school, Fenger High, on his now-deleted blog (sample posts were temporarily republished here, still viewable in the Google cache). When its existence was leaked, the shite hit the fan, both among the student body and the teachers. More lively discussion on MetaFilter.

This Road Brought to You by _________

The city has begun circulating the initial documents bidders must submit as they compete for naming rights to various aspects of the Chicago Skyway, including the road itself, in an auction budgeted to raise $3M. According to an announcement by World Business Chicago, this represents "a unique historical opportunity for a prospective bidder to be the first corporation in the United States to own the naming rights to a major bridge and roadway." Doesn't quite have the same ring as being home to the first skyscraper, does it?

There's Even a Pink One

Since neither Andrew nor Naz has mentioned it, I'll do it for them: they've ventured into buttons. Or botons, as it were. Check out their limited edition tribute to the 'L', and look for more sets in future.

Bye, Boardwalk! Welcome, Wrigley!

Monopoly fans, start your clicking! The folks at Hasbro have decided to create a new version of the 76 year old boardgame later this year. The "Here & Now Edition" will feature not only inflated denominations and property values but 22 national landmarks, including Wrigley Field and O'Hare airport from our dear old Chicago. In this version, however, fans of the game get to vote on where their favorite landmarks will end up on the board, with the most votes garnering the chosen landmark the coveted Boardwalk spot. Vote early and often online until May 12 [Flash 8 required].

Tracking Transit

Speaking of getting from one place to another, Tony Coppoletta has just launched Chicago Transit Status, a site consolidating information about CTA outages, delays and more. It's just the trains right now, but there are plans to deliver bus information soon. He's looking for volunteers to help update the site; check the contact page to get in touch.

Getting There

The New Yorker takes a look at the technology of roadmaps, beginning with the old Rand McNally days and leading up to the local digital mapping company, Navteq. Chicago has always been at the forefront of driving directions, apparently. (Thanks, Sparky!)

Soldier Field loses landmark status

Those of you who have been thinking that the 2003 renovations to Soldier Field were a bad idea are now vindicated: the building has lost its status as a National Historic Landmark because of the additions.

After the Mugging

Theresa at The Local Tourist was mugged and brutally beaten walking down Diversey Avenue late at night two weekends ago; her assailant beat and kicked her repeatedly in the head, and may have planned on doing much more. You can follow her recovery on her blog; she has advice on what to do if you get mugged or attacked here.

Geeks Gone Wild

The Times on Vita Excolatur: "Since its inaugural issue in October 2004, Vita has been a constant challenge for a university trying to balance ideals of academic freedom and its role in loco parentis." Which, ya know, is one way of putting it...

Newberry Summer Registration Open

Whether reading Devil in the White City excited your interest in Chicago history, or you've resolved to go back and study some of the classics you avoided in high school, or you're wondering if your life story might make a good novel (or at least a short story), the Newberry Library probably has a course for you. Classes start in June.

Local EPpy Noms

EPpy nominations were kind to the Tribune this year; they include Maureen Ryan'sThe Watcher, and the paper's multimedia special on "the Mercury Menace." The Crain's site was also nominated. The EPpy Awards annually honor new media forays by old media and will be handed out next month in Vegas.

Choose Your Own Missed Connection

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the (Craigslist) Forum."

Smashing Pumpkins... actually reuniting.

Many moons after Billy Corgan's infamous full-page Tribune ad, Pitchfork is reporting they're back together (well, according to their website). No word yet on which (if any) summer festival they'll grace with their presence.

Mime Watch is a great resource, but what if you want to track that great menace to society, the mime? Well, now you can. [via]

State Master

Enjoy some Friday fun with statistics! State Master is a free site that collects current statistical data about all 50 states and allows visitors to compare and view data on just about every topic imaginable. Find out how Illinois stacks up against the rest of the country. Hey, we're third in the total number of homicides, and Illinois comes in ninth for the highest unemployment rate. And, did you know 65 percent of the population of Illinois lives in the Chicagoland area? Plus, you can get your statistics fix anytime with RSS and Atom feeds on the site.

"I Love My Car"

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at how the "Dan Ryan Dig" is affecting would-be drivers commuting into the city. The attachment some people have to their cars is a little frightening.

Who Was First Policeman Killed in Line of Duty?

In case you missed it, the Chicago Tribune has a fascinating cover story today on the local debate over which Chicago police officer should be remembered as the first to be killed in the line of duty. Was it Casper Lauer or James Quinn? Former DEA officer Rick Barrett claims it was Quinn, as he told NPR's Melissa Block this afternoon. Further coverage from the Trib here.

Design Just Out of Reach

Design Within Reach is holding its first Chicago-area warehouse sale tomorrow through Monday, with items up to 75 percent off. The only catch is, the warehouse is in Downers Grove.

Playing for The Chicago Machine

There's a lot of potential writing jobs out there for those who like talking about local sports teams, including new ones like the Chicago Machine, our newly formed professional men's lacrosse team. They're looking for a writer, so if you know your lacrosse facts, let them know. Or if you want to be a part of their dance team, they're looking for some of those positions as well.

Cubs Bleachers for Sale

Reader Kurt writes, "I probably shouldn't be telling anyone about this since it just means 'competition,' but I'm feeling generous." The Cubs will be holding a "garage sale" this Saturday from 8am to 4pm. Available items will include Wrigley Field bricks, sections of the old bleachers, game-used equipment, and Kerry Woods' arm. Proceeds will go to charity.

What time is it?

Another Marshall Field's battle is brewing, but in this one the store's current owner (Federated Department Stores, the company that's changing the store's name) is playing the good guy. They're asking the store's former owner, Target Corporation, to return a Norman Rockwell painting of the State Street store's clock, which used to hang in the store until it was replaced by a copy and then disappeared a few months ago. There's been no response from Target yet; perhaps they're mass-producing copies of the painting to sell in Target stores nationwide?

Leaky Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco is set to become The Next Big Chicago Rap Thing. Or, if he's to be believed, was. His record Food & Liquor leaked over the weekend, and he's awfully upset over it. Upset to the point of saying that, although he reportedly spent five years working on the album, it may now never see official release. Status Ain't Hood ain't buying that and says, get over it, Lupe, 'cause the thing is "just about perfect."

Reduce Reuse Re-bluebag

The cover of this week's Time Out Chicago cleverly recognizes Earth Day (April 22) by reminding you to "Recycle This Magazine." While periodicals may be among the paper items that Chicago residents can be diverted from the dump, only 13 per cent of city households can be bothered. The battle for blue bag banishment never seems to end, but the latest development was today's announcement that there will be a later announcment of the communities that will join Beverly in the successful curbside collection pilot program.

Tracking Crimes by the Tracks

You might already check out the award-winning site to see what's gone down in your neighborhood, but don't forget to check your commute. The CTA Tattler has a story of a knock 'em, sock 'em fight on a Blue Line train this week, and also points out the options of checking crimes on platforms, buses, garages, and trains.

For The Commuter With Style

Dear Dude on The Blue Line with the Pink iPod Wallet, Take your powder pink iPod protection devotion to the next level. Thomas Pink's latest collection at Marshall Field's includes this practical gem: "The Commuter Tie". Pink's tie (available in Thomas' signature pink, as well as red and navy blue) has a pocket on the backside for your MP3 player and a loop to tame headphone wires. Pink's collection also includes "The Commuter Shirt." Yours, Gapers Block Style Team

Sky Bloggers Wanted

Funny Kris should mention it: The WNBA just so happens to be looking for some bloggers to write about the Chicago Sky (and other teams). Fill out this application and you could be one of them.

Blogging the national pastime

With baseball back in full swing and both Chicago teams looking good, it's time to check in on the sports blogs. The aptly-named Agony & Ivy is a well-written one-year-old Cubs diary written mainly by a Chicago ex-pat living in Austin. South Side Sox provides trenchant daily analysis of the World Series champs. What about our other summer sports? Any Chicago Fire sites with breathless reports on the new Bridgeview Stadium? And who'll have the first blog about the Chicago Sky?

Daley to Take a Page from Israel

Mayor Daley will be making his first-ever trip to Israel to check out security measures, which are "way ahead" of ours, according to Daley's press secretary. Exact dates have not been set, but it's been acknowledged that the trip might coincide with the beginning of Robert Sorich's trial. Interesting.

Gates-way to Education

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continues to take an interest in Chicago's schools. The foundation just gave Chicago Public Schools a $21 million grant, the largest it's ever given to a local school district, to fund a more challenging curriculum in English, math and science at 14 local high schools. This just a week after announcing plans to open four Outward Bound schools in the city.

The Festival Buzz Gets Louder

Jim DeRogatis on the latest booking developments at this summer's music festivals. First, there was Os Mutantes at Pitchfork; now, Roky Erickson at Intonation. 

The People v. Public Radio

In the wake of the Tribune's article over the weekend and other expressions of exasperation, Daniel Ash, a vice president at Chicago Public Radio, reached out to explain his organization's plans for the future. Read him interviewed at Chicagoist. [One listener who's not disappointed: Trib blogger Steve Johnson.]

What Rhymes with Chitlins?

Not much. Probably best to stick with Moo & Oink's other products when you write your entry in the South Side meat market's jingle contest, judged by Shorty K. You could win $1000! Just remember Rule #1: "Jingle/rap should describe what you love about Moo & Oink." (Thanks, Donna!)

Berghoff Cafe Reopens

With little fanfare, the Berghoff Cafe, in the basement of the recently closed Berghoff Restaurant, reopened for lunch today. The Berghoff Memorial Blog has the story.

Another Use for Your Library Card

...besides taking up room in your wallet: You can download audiobooks from the Chicago Public Library's website! Here's how! UPDATE: Unfortunately, it's Windows only. [via]

Symphonic Pilsen

The Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training body for the well-known CSO, is holding a community concert in Pilsen next week. Like all of the Civic concerts, it's free and has some tasty tidbits--Bolero among them. And the Grant Park Music Festival has announced their summer program as well, and it's truly exciting--Tibetan singers for Mozart, Carmina Burana.

Mark Sinclair Remembered

I'd heard of Mark Sinclair through various cycling friends but had never met him. I never will. Comedy and Sports editor for Time Out Chicago, Sinclair passed away on April 14th. Family, friends and well-wishers will be meeting tonight at Lula Cafe in Logan Square from 6-8pm, not in mourning but in celebration of Mark. His parents wish those who attend to come in informal dress. If you knew Mark, celebrate the fierce spirit that he was to all who knew him. Jonathan Messinger celebrates him here.

Art Institute No Longer Free

You know how the Art Institute has those signs at the door that say admission is a suggested donation of $12 adults? Well, they're scratching out the "suggested donation" part. Starting June 3, that $12 will be mandatory. Free Tuesdays are also gone, but they'll be replaced with free admission on Thursday evenings and Friday evenings from 5pm to 9pm in the summer. (Thanks, Jaime!)

A Perfectly Pleasant Poetry Podcast

We're more than halfway through April, but have you celebrated National Poetry Month yet? If you're just too busy to sit down and read some great poetry, you can keep it between your ears with the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation's new set of poetry podcasts. This week's fresh 'casts include a Marilyn Nelson reading, an audio documentary on poet Linda Bierds, a translation of Stephane Mallarme's "The Tomb of Edgar Poe" read by the winner of this year's Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Richard Wilbur and a reading of Robert Browning's "Fra Lippo Lippi" by Oscar-nominated actor Paul Giamatti (you know, the guy from Sideways).

"I Can't Believe He's Partymates with Rick Santorum "

In the middle of a pretty somber piece on George Ryan on WBEZ this morning, there was a clip of a kinda goofy-sounding band singing about the former governor. That goofy-sounding band (featuring Miss Mia from Chic-a-go-go!) is Illinois First!, and the song is "George Ryan" (mp3), and they've got a whole album of songs about the prairie state. Sufjan's got nothing on them.

More on Saving Transitions

Publisher's Weekly has more on the call for help from the owners of Transitions Bookplace. Transitions is truly one of the great independent bookstores in Chicago, and it would be a huge loss to the community if they are forced to close their doors. Please consider helping out.

Buy a Piece of the Velvet

To help raise the funds to reopen the legendary Velvet Lounge at its planned new location, 36 E. Cermak, there's going to be an "artifact sale" at the old location, 2128.5 S. Indiana, this Sunday, April 23 at 3pm. Just about everything you can imagine will be available for purchase — cash only! — including the historic bar top for $1,000 or best offer. You might even get a bit of wallpaper. (Thanks, Sharon!)

And The Verdict Is...

That's it: former governor George Ryan is found guilty on all counts.

More Hockey

As if Chicago needed another sports team: The Hounds will be joining the minor league UHL this fall, playing at the under-construction Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

This American Stream

Just got the weekly email update from This American Life, which includes the very interesting fact that they've gotten rid of the site's RealAudio archive streams in favor of streaming MP3 format. So if you've been having problems with playing RealAudio, check out the new streaming MP3 goodness!

You Need a Transition

Transitions Bookplace -- a locally-owned store specializing in spiritual, growth, and grief lit -- is in danger of closing their doors after this month without more patronage. Take a break from online and chain retailers and check them out. They are located at 1000 W. North Ave.

Bulls Pull Through

Hey! The Bulls clinched their spot in the playoffs last night! If you were waiting to get your playoff tickets, now would be the time.

Chicago barista wins US title

The Sun-Times has a profile today of Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea employee Matthew Riddle, who won the US Barista Championships last week. Riddle had to serve up 12 drinks in 15 minutes to claim the title. His winning the title means that Chicago will represent in the World Barista Championships in Berne, Switzerland next month. Riddle isn't working as a coffee server right now (he's working as a graphic artist for Intelligentsia), but he will be serving up coffee for the grand opening on April 28 of a new Intelligentsia store at 53 E. Randolph. So if you're looking for a fast cup of coffee, remember to stop by and congratulate Matthew.

A Little More Talk and a Lot Less Tunage

Chicago Public Radio recently announced plans to move all of its frequencies toward "conversation;" as the Tribune reports, that's got jazz fans singing the blues. Have your say in CPR's listener forum.

"Free" Bicycle, Anyone?

Chicago is one of around a dozen locations selected by Bicycling Magazine for its BikeTown USA promotion, which will give away 50 bicycles in each "BikeTown." Just fill out this form and pay special attention to the box that asks you to explain "how you would use a BikeTown bike to change your life." Of course, there are strings attached: if you win you'll have to sign a rather extensive release (pdf)...

Floor Covering Most Foul

Sewer cover throw rugs fashioned after the designs seen in several major cities, including Chicago. [via]

A revolution in Brazilian culture... comes to Union Park

The lineup for the Pitchfork Music Festival has just gone from really strong to spectacular: Tropicalia innovators Os Mutantes, who recently announced they'd be performing for the first time in over thirty years, will be headlining the concluding day of the festival.
If you don't know who they are (and missed the Tropicalia exhibition at the MCA earlier this year), David Byrne's Luaka Bop released a decent retrospective a few years back, and they're proiminently featured on a recent Tropicalia compilation. Get listening!

Islamic Studies Near You

I was looking for Milad un Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad) events in Chicago for this week (which, apparently, there are none) when I came across the website for the American Islamic College (640 W. Irving Park). While the website is a bit 1998, the actual university looks pretty cool--they offer weekend and evening Arabic courses. Or, of course, if you're interested in getting a 4-year degree from an Islamic perspective, this might be for you.

Gay Games Registration Filling Up

The Gay Games will open at Soldier Field on July 15, three months from tomorrow. Accordingly, tomorrow's the last day for registration before late fees start kicking in. With 10,000 competitors from 45 countries already signed up, director Brian McGuinness says rates thus far have exceeded expectations. In the end, organizers anticipate 12,000 athletes, as well as coaches, fans and families, will participate in the event.

Spring Has Sprung. Now, What To Wear?

Let's all cross fingers that we can ditch the anoraks, coats, jackets, blazers, sweaters and various other forms of outerwear for at least a few months. It's 78 degrees, and that's cause for celebration. Still, the anonymous female blogger behind Make Love, Not Debt is struggling to find a black shirt that'll meet her Chicago springtime needs (and there are several of them). Ladies, if you've got recommendations, be nice and pass 'em on.

Local Webbies

The Webby Awards nominations are out, and there are a couple local contenders: Congratulations to AccuRadio (Radio), Freakonomics (Best Copy/Writing), CareerBuilder (Employmment), (Insurance, by Tribal DDB Chicago) and 4178° - Chicago Architecture (Student). They're all up against stiff competition, so register and vote for the home team.

Did we miss any? Let us know at

April 14, 1865

Cocktails and Pain reminds us that on this day 141 years ago, also a Good Friday, Abraham Lincoln was shot. The sixteenth president of the United States died the next morning.

Trade Ya For It

Swap Simple is a Chicago-based site where people can trade used books, CDs, DVDs and videogames with other members, paying only postage and a $2 fee per item ordered — which is reduced to free if you list enough of your own stuff for trade. (Thanks, Lakshmi)

Filtered Music, Fake Babies

Next Tuesday, April 18 at 8pm, Filter Magazine is hosting a "Music Appreciation Night" at Landmark Art Gallery, 841 W. Randolph, featuring The Redwalls and Assassins. It's free, but you've got to RSVP. [via] And speaking of Filter, they've got an interesting story about Sufjan Stevens taking Pitchfork to task via email for posting a story about Sufjan's lovechild with singer Rosie Thomas, which turned out to be a hoax.

Really Quick Review: Eleven City Diner

Eleven City Diner, the Viper Room of Jewish Chicago, has the building blocks of a great restaurant, but is currently lacking the haroset to put it all together. The pastrami and corned beef are as good as any I've had outside New York, and the matzo ball rivals my mother's recipe (highest praise possible), but who allowed owner Bradley Rubin to think that a pastrami on rye needs a third slice of bread like a trayf club sandwich? Or that sandwiches and (very tasty) fried onions should arrive simultaneously, followed by soup? And how are you out of Cel-Ray? Still, they're only a few weeks old: don't call it a shonda, they'll be here for years.

Sia on CD

Today, Chicagoist runs a positive "Re-View" of singer Sia's performance at Martyr's. Tomorrow, while it'll be more than a little different from a live show, you can celebrate the release of her CD, Colour the Small One, at Berlin. There'll be giveaways and dancing and stuff.

Allstate's Paying For Parking

Early notice: Allstate's going to do a large media campaign in the Loop on Monday. And they'll pay for (metered) parking, as well as adding a bunch of car-themed art downtown. (Will it be as cool as the car spike? Probably not.) Happy Birthday, Allstate.

Man, Inventor, Genius

The Museum of Science & Industry unveils a big new exhibit of the works of Leonardo da Vinci tomorrow. The 20,000-square-foot show will feature models of the 15th Century master's inventions, a digital copy of one of his sketchbooks and a lot more. The exhibit runs through Sept. 4 and costs $21 for adults, $15 for kids, which includes admission to the rest of the museum.

Schedule Me Out to the Ballgame

The baseball season having just started and Google Calendar having just been introduced, it seems a good time to point out some subscribable schedules for the Cubs and Sox. (A few other handy calendars: this summer's Movies in the Park, gallery events in the West Loop, and shows at the Bottle.)

Daily Kos disses Dames

Kos, of Daily Kos was in town yesterday signing books and Roni went to see what he had to say, and ask him about his view of feminists and civil rights. His basic theory is that any Democrat is better than any Republican. Roni points out why party affiliation isn't the main point.

Touring the Classics

Next time you've got guests in town and blank on things to do, you might refer back to the New York Post's "old school" guide to Chicago. Not a one of the ideas is likely to come as a surprise, but that's because they're all pretty good. Plus, it seems you should expect visitors; sez the Post: "there's no city in America quite as fresh and interesting right now." [via]

Gateses to fund Outward Bound Schools in Chicago

Crain's reports that, possibly as soon as 2007, Outward Bound will open four public schools in Chicago, partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It hasn't been decided who these schools will serve or where they'll be, but this should be interesting.

Your Early Easter Present

Not doing anything on Easter? We'll give you two passes to see Editors at the Metro Sunday night, along with a copy of their new album, Back Roomif you're the first to email! Stuck at your parents' that day? You can catch them playing a short set at Tower Records, 2301 N. Clark., between 5 and 6pm Monday the 17th. UPDATE: Ed is our winner!

11 Bloodshot Years, 35 Alligators

Bloodshot Records, Chicago's "insurgent country" label, turned 11 this year, and it's celebrating with a two-CD set of all-new songs by a laundry list of bands. Not to be outdone, blues label Alligator Records is commemorating its 35th year with a compilation of its own, 35x35, featuring such greats as Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Son Seals and Albert Collins. WBEZ's 848 interviewed the owners of both labels recently; here are mp3s of Alligator's Bruce Iglauer and Bloodshot's Nan Warshaw and Rob Miller.

Almost Time For Strawberries

After the tulips have bloomed, the first strawberries of the season are the true announcement of spring. The U of I Extension has put together a very informative page about strawberries, including a page about where to go to pick them in the region. Regional strawberries are divine and worth the trip--nothing like the frankenberries from California.

Bean there, done that

The Bean is done. Workers have finally finished the task of sanding down the seams of the stainless steel sculpture, which was unveiled two years ago but has recently been under wraps while it was finished. So... take some more pictures!

Faster Flying

The planes won't actually go faster, but you may not have to arrive at the airport so darn early. The Transportation Security Administration is looking to add part-time luggage screeners at both Midway and O'Hare. The screeners, who would make for a larger work-force during peak times, could cut wait times substantially.

Remembering Maggie Dixon

West Point womens' basketball coach Maggie Dixon was remembered at a memorial service yesterday in North Hollywood, California after dying last week of a sudden arrythmic episode. The ceremony was attended by 1200 mourners, including the basketball teams of both West Point and DePaul, where Dixon was an assistant coach for five years before being named head coach for Army just before the start of the last season. After a 5-7 start, Dixon took the Army team to a 20-11 record and the Patriot League championship, earning West Point its first-ever appearance in the womens' NCAA tournament last month. She and her brother Jamie, the mens' coach at Pitt, became the first brother and sister to coach in the NCAA tournament in the same year. Jamie, 11 years her elder, said Tuesday, "I've said this before—when I grow up I want to be just like her." Maggie Dixon will be buried Friday at West Point; she was 28.

Now Showing

Former GB film critic Gordon McAlpin has turned his love of the movies into a great webcomic, Multiplex.

A Pill with a New Flavor

We're not the only ones who've done a bit of reno recently. Nope, Flavorpill's experimenting with beta taste. It's added a blog to its excellent weekly newsletter, which, incidentally, reminds you to head to Hyde Park this afternoon for a dose of Žižek.

Ringleader of the Impersonators

Know a Morrissey look-alike? Does he want to make a cameo in a music video? It's modern-day Mozzers that are encouraged to apply, but Smiths-era throwbacks may be considered. [via]

Local News, Backdropped by Tourists

A year after construction began, ABC 7 opened its State Street studio yesterday. Metblogs has a photo of the gawkers, along with an observation that made me laugh out loud: "by the way, in case you forgot, the local news is the worst thing of all time" (!). (Disagree? Today's Fuel is the place to say so.)

What's that on your head? A wig!

Want a primer on fake hair, but aren't ready to commit to a full course? Head to Navy Pier Saturday evening for a free demonstration by Chicago Shakespeare Theater's wig and costume artists. It's part of a slew of free events being offered by the theater to celebrate its twentieth anniversary, though many (including this one) require reservations; see details in Slowdown.

She's Still There

Speaking of our roadways, Eric Zorn checked in on Underpass Mary one year after the miraculous mineral stain appeared on Fullerton Avenue, and found she's mostly still intact and still receiving flowers.

This Will Clear The Roadways

Have you ever thought that a perfect counter to the over-size sport utility vehicles would be a sport utility motorcycle? One that fits you and your friends, as well as your trusty machine gun or mortar to hold off enemy fire (wmv)? Even better: mount the machine gun on the sidecar (wmv). Oh yes, I'm not making this up, and it's all brought to you from Ural Motorcycles, available (sans gun) at Ural Chicago.

Want to donate that computer?

While I was looking for a place to donate a slew of computers I used in a high school classroom, I came across Chicago-based Computers For Schools. They offer refurbished computers to schools, non-profits, and churches at 1/3 the retail cost. Their dropoff location is 3350 N. Kedzie. They even recycle cell phones, too!

Redesign Ahoy!

Welcome to the redesigned Gapers Block! You may need to clear your browser cache in order to see it in its full glory. And those of you reading our feeds should come to the site and get the new and improved feeds. More details about what's changed and what's on the way in Detour, where you can also give us feedback and report any bugs. Thanks!

Wearin' the B.L.O.G.

If you've got a blog, be proud and wear it (literally) on your sleeve. Local t-shirt biz Threadless has a snappy new shirt for sale that spells out the word for all to see. They've also recently upped the prize money for their latest contest "Red Cross Loves Threadless" to $2,000. That's quite a lot in diet cokes (oh, and, down the road, money for the Red Cross). Details ahoy.

Chester Cheetah Unwelcome on the Orange Line

Today, RedEye offers a reminder: a ticket to ride is not a ticket to eat. Rather, for CTA customer Matt Smith, it turned into a ticket for eating. Smith dug into his 65 cent bag of Cheetos after stepping on board a train and got smacked with an unappetizing $110 fine.

The Therapist Moves In

While we were redesigning yesterday, another site was launching: introducing Apartment Therapy : Chicago, a new local channel of the popular interior design blog.

Royko at the Goat

The Week Behind digs up a 1982 video of legendary columnist Mike Royko hanging out at the Billy Goat Tavern, talking softball, his father's bar and more. (via)

Lake Shore Runway?!

Taking "flight" on the streets of Chicago this summer: the LimoJet.

This Is the Land of Lincoln

It took this article in the Hartford Courant for me to find out about the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, apparently the center of Lincolniana. Check out the reproduction photographs.

A B.A. in Bouffant

DePaul University recently announced the creation of Wigs and Hair Chicago, a certificate program for those who'd like to learn how to make moustaches, side burns, and fancy hairdos for the stage.

This is Run 5-7-5

Poets of transit
Inspired by the CTA
Have composed haiku

Tastes Like Some Great Concerts To Me

Even though the official Taste of Chicago website isn't saying anything official yet, the Trib has an early announcement of music booked for the festival this summer. Former Kinks frontman (and recent Chicago visitor) Ray Davies (pronounced like "Daviz") will headline on July 4 along with (get this) My Morning Jacket and former Soul Coughing lead singer (and recent Chicago visitor) Mike Doughty. The rest of the fest lineup includes Chaka Khan on June 30, Glen Campbell and Jo Dee Messina, July 1 and 2 (see more here), India.Arie on July 5, Macy Gray and (local act) Liquid Soul on July 7, and former Styx vocalist and Chicago son Dennis DeYoung and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on July 9. Best part is it's all free. (More to come about July 6 and 8.)

Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

The lineup for one of the City of Chicago sponsored music festivals is posted, and it's boot tappin' good. The Chicago Country Music Festival, held July 1 and 2, will feature none other than music legend Glen Campbell (representing old school country) and Jo Dee Messina (on behalf of modern country). Also performing are bluegrass group the Yonder Mountain String Band and pop/country artists SHeDaisy among others. The festival operates alongside the Taste of Chicago, which has also kind of announced some of its lineup already.

Ticked Cock Sends Tic Tock to Dick Doc

I feel for this guy: his penile enlargement surgery didn't go well. However, sending the doctor a letterbomb is probably going to damage your malpractice case.

The Golden Truffle Opens in Previews Tonight

If I had $45, I'm not sure that I would spend it on a ticket to The Golden Truffle, Redmoon's first "musical spectacle". But you might; previews start tonight. The steep price of admission includes a four-course truffle tasting menu from Lincoln Park based Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Goldstar Events and Hot Tix were both offering discounted tickets earlier this week.

"Drove to Chicago" ...Again

You thought we'd never mention Sufjan Stevens's Illinois again, didn't you? (Check the archive if you somehow missed 2005.) Well, you thought wrong: this summer, the Prairie State epic will be followed up by the sessions' outtakes, 21 songs described as counterparts to the original album's tracks. Details about The Avalanche, as the collection will be called, are at the Asthmatic Kitty website, but know that there will be not one, not two, but three more versions of "Chicago" to get stuck in your head. Look for the requisite acoustic jam, as well as "adult contemporary easy listening" and "multiple personality disorder" renditions.

"Smack dab between Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular"

Before baseball fever fully embraces- slash-chokes the region, lend an ear to this well-made case for basketball as the lifeblood of the American city, Chicago included (McSweeney's via FreeDarko).

Touch & Go at 25

Mark your calendars: Touch and Go Records turns 25 this year, and they're celebrating with a big concert at the Hideout September 8-10. Twenty-five T&G bands past and present will perform, including Black Heart Procession, Calexico, CocoRosie, Enon, Pinback, Shellac, Ted Leo/Pharmacists and the original line-ups of the Didjits and Scratch Acid. We'll have more details for you as they become available.

Sleeping on the Ceiling

The Snow City Arts Foundation provides arts education to hospitalized children seven days a week. Tomorrow night, "Sleeping on the Ceiling," a multimedia installation by over 300 children participating in creative writing, music, and visual arts workshops, opens at ARC Gallery. The exhibit, which runs until April 30, features six life-size rooms that explore the intersection of fantasy and reality in the hospitalized child's journey from departure to return.

15 Minutes = My Attention Span

Andy Warhol shot films that capture everyday activities like sleeping, eating, and looking pretty. Are the results slow paced and boring or titilating and arty? You be the judge. See them tonight at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Red Line riders: take the bus today!

The Trib reports that there was a minor derailment on the Red Line tracks earlier this morning, and the CTA has cut power to the Red Line tracks between the Fullerton and North & Clybourn stops. There's an alert on the CTA Website that says they're rerouting southbound Red Line trains to the elevated tracks (i.e., the Brown/Purple Line route) and stopping at some downtown elevated stations (see the CTA site for a complete list of stops). Shuttle buses are also running between North & Clybourn and State & Lake. As always, expect delays on the trains. Update: trains are running as usual now, but you should still expect delays.

Can't Stop That Feeling!

What's better than an REO Speedwagon concert? A free REO Speedwagon concert. Can't remember their hits? Check out these great MIDI versions. (Thanks, Stacey.)

Theatre history makes way for granite counters, Jacuzzi tubs

The building at 2851 N. Halsted is the current home of ComedySportz; in its life as a theater since the 1970s, 2851 has been home to the St. Nicholas Players (founded by David Mamet and William H. Macy), Steppenwolf, and Organic-Touchstone. Next month it'll meet its final fate: the wrecking ball. 2851 and its surrounding buildings are being razed to make way for a 44-unit condo development, because we all know there's a shortage of new condo developments on the North Side. Read the eulogies by Chris Jones and Hedy Weiss, and consider attending the farewell party this Sunday; details in Slowdown.

A Peek at Joe & Marilyn

Sports and movie fans alike would be interested in the latest exhibit at the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, 1431 W. Taylor St: correspondence and other memorabilia from Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. And those with deep enough pockets could take a piece of it home — it'll all be up for auction by Hunt Auctions in May.

Two More For the PMF

Spoon and the Silver Jews have been added to the lineup at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival, which surprises exactly no one. In other Pitchfork news, they're looking for a local music reporter, and has anyone else noticed that the top Google hit for "Pitchfork Music Festival" is the rival Intonation Music Festival?

Gay Games rowers cross another hurdle

The City Council of far northwest suburb Crystal Lake last night approved by a 6-1 vote the request by the organizers of this summer's Gay Games to hold a rowing event on the lake, a matter which came under contention in hearings before the Crystal Lake Park District last month and brought national attention to McHenry County. Last night's council meeting featured many supporters and only one resident speaking against the event, who told WGN News that "I don't hate gay people; I just think it's a gay agenda event." The Games still need to gain the approval of neighboring township Lakewood, which shares jurisdiction of the man-made lake.

Ain't I a Critic?

The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, the first of three plays by Rebecca Gilman that Eclipse Theater stages this season, is not in fact about baseball, but about a visual artist who has a few choice things to say to her critics and art dealers when her work is panned. Needless to say, critical response to the play has been a bit prickly.

Experimental Plays, On Demand

Experimental theater group Lucky Pierre has posted a working script of Rock & Roll: Impatience, a new performance about metal band AC/DC, on their website. The show previews later this month.

Studs vs. Stewart

Tonight on the Daily Show: Studs Terkel. And since Studs is nearly deaf, it should be quite a show. Tune in!

Wal-Mart Makes Nice

In an effort to placate those concerned about Wal-Mart stores being introduced in their neighborhood, the company has declared it feels its opponents' pain. Ours is an area the Wal has struggled to enter; no coincidence, then, that its CEO chose Chicago to announce the "Wal-Mart Jobs and Opportunity Zones" Initiative, the first zone of which will be on the city's West Side. Lest you think the company's gone soft with altruism, the Times reports that a confidential internal memo blames community criticism for crippling expansion, and Wal-Mart is all about expansion. (Prior coverage in the GB archives.)

Swiffer-ly Winner?

A Chicago feminist, mother, wife, and UIC employee is one of the finalists in the Swiffer Amazing Women of the Year contest. Veronica is the 7th from the top and she needs your vote. With her help maybe Chicago will get voted "Cleanest City to Live In."

Such Smart Kids

I believe the children are our future.

CTA in Hyper-reality

Apparently, this image of the Damen Blue Line station is not a photograph; rather, it's a "photo-realist painting" that took 2000 hours and 50 Photoshop files. Wow.

Keeping Tabs on Triblogs

For handy bookmarking, the Tribune has helpfully consolidated its various blogs on a single portal. (Although it has fewer, the Sun-Times's blogs are similarly accessible.)

Wrestlemania Photos, Hooters No-Go

If you didn't make it to Wrestlemania, you can always check out what you missed on Flickr. And of course, you missed this amazing portrait taken at Hooters. (In other Hooters news, it looks like HootersAir has cancelled service from Rockford and scaled back service from Gary. Guess they don't have great wings after all, eh?)

Trump at the Trump

YoChicago reports that The Donald has decided to keep the 89th floor penthouse of his namesake tower for himself. The 14,000 square foot pied à air would retail at $28 million.

Harold's On Hold

Reader Al gives us an update on the Wicker Park Harold's Chicken Shack, which we reported would open on Sunday: "They won't be opening for about another week or two. I spoke to the (slightly embarrassed) owner and he said the paper never consulted them before writing the article and went with an approximate date provided months ago."

Are you ready for some football?

Forget about the Bears, I'm talking about the Force, the Chicago Force. In a move that makes me tickled pink, these kick-ass and ass-kicking women are going to be hosting this season's wins at the Lane Tech Stadium at 2501 W. Addison (on Addison near Western). The season opener is April 29th at 3pm, order your $8 tickets online.

BIO and Of Course, BIO Protests

This weekend brings a major bio-tech conference to Chicago, BIO. Of course there couldn't be a bio-tech conference without protesters, so look-out for protesters around the city from Reclaim The Commons. Want to join in the protest or learn more about community gardening? Their events page has all of the details.

"When Neighbors Collide"

Friend of GB Wendy McClure has a piece in the Funny Pages section of yesterday's New York Times Magazine.

Push butt

Metroblogging Chicago discovers the real message of CTA signs.

Tiny Little Apartments

Interior design blog Apartment Therapy is running a "smallest coolest apartment" contest. There are only a couple in there from Chicago, but one of the strongest contenders is this one, a 476 sq. ft. "urban guest house."

Charities (heart) Threadless

After local t-shirt purveyors Threadless raised over $100,000 to help the Red Cross aid Katrina victims, they made a few friends over there. The Red Cross has now tapped Threadless to sponsor a design competition in honor of their 125th birthday. Design your tee around the themes of Hope, Humanity & Compassion (along with some other very special guidelines) and submit it by April 21. When the winning tees are chosen and sold, Threadless will donate $5 per shirt to the Red Cross.

Chicago Johns Trading Cards Page

Speaking of prostitution, it's always good fun on Mondays to visit Chicago's page of guys who have been busted for soliciting prostitutes. They're like trading cards, and it's always fun to have a little contest to see who has the best hair this month, or the winner of the "Best Dressed" category...

Hard out where for a pimp?

The Illinois Legislature is considering signing a bill into law which would make it possible for a prostitute to sue a pimp. The House has approved it, the Senate is expected to approve it, and Gov. Rod is expected to sign it. In 2004 there were 3200 prostitutes, 900 johns, and fewer than 30 pimps arrested in Chicago. Sounds to me like it's about to get a whole lot harder out there for a pimp. Shucks!

Pink is the New Line

The Pink Line has elicited strong opinions from Chicagoans on LiveJournal, NPR and lots of other forums. Sound off for yourself on today's Fuel.

Fire in Five?

Any soccer fans out there interested in writing about the Fire for Sports in Five? Email samples to me at UPDATE: We've found a writer. Thanks to all who applied!


The Damen Studio is calling for entries for a juried exhibition this summer, the title of which will be "Supernatural Chicago: Seeking the otherworldly in the mundane." The deadline is May 31, with more details at Chicago Photobloggers. Of special note: our own Naz Hamid will curate the show, making it something like Rearview in a gallery.

Please Stand By...

After a very busy opening week, the South Loop's Eleven City Diner experienced a power outage yesterday, and will be out of commission until Tuesday. (In the meantime, whet your appetite with some reviews via

One Book, One Chicago Event Alert

Although this season's One Book, One Chicago selection was announced in February, a cluster of related (and free!) events are scheduled this week, including a lecture by James Fallows, a film screening, and a reading of excerpts from One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in English and Russian. Slowdown has the details.

AfriCaribe at the Naperville Public Library

Members of the Chicago-based non-profit AfriCaribe will be performing at the Naperville Public Library on Wednesday, April 5, at 7pm. Founded in 2000, AfriCaribe is dedicated to celebrating Puerto Rican and Caribbean cultures through dance, music, theatre and other arts. Tickets for teh event are available at all Naperville Public Library branches. The performance takes place at the 95th Street Library meeting room. Call 630-961-4100 ext. 4941 for more information.

The Modern Sounds Of Today!

Woo hoo! RibFest is coming and boy, are we pumped or what? They just announced the music lineup and I can hardly contain myself. First off, you got R.E.O. Speedwagon (of "Keep On Lovin' You" fame). Secondly, There's Three Dog Night which by now is down to a single dog if I'm getting my math right. So bring your bib, your wetnaps and those ears of yours to the RibFest!

You Can't Trump Those Humps

Seems that some folks headed to audition for The Apprentice, season 5 downtown this morning made a big impression, but not on who they wanted. The fact that the auditions took place next to a television studio wasn't enough of a clue to those wrapping a line around the building, and some of them got a little too comfortable. Filmed through the windows of NBC5 studios, early morning news viewers got an eyefull of Apprentice hopefulls doing everything from changing clothes to scratching at their rears...often -- all behind the smiling head of NBC5 News Today's LeeAnn Trotter.

Happy Birthday, Naperville!

Naperville is proud to turn 175 years old this year. And to commemorate the pride and joy that all Naperville residents are experiencing, the city is looking for volunteers to help plan a birthday party to "celebrate 175 years of heritage, unity and vision in your hometown." If you're interested in helping out, contact a member of the Central Committee.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys - Whatcha' Gonna Do?

The city of Naperville, in it's ongoing effort to stamp out the scourge of tobacco and therfore live forever, cited these individuals for selling smokes to underage patrons. Remember: these folks are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Classy Camping

There's no better place to host an event than in a tent in Naperville, and the city has now made that even easier. The new Tent Permit form is now in pdf form on the web. After filling out the paperwork, there's a convenient meeting held every Tuesday from 8:30 to 9:30am you have to attend, and poof... tent action.

The Big 175

As all of Naper-land gears up for Naperville's 175th birthday celebration this summer, the city is looking for help pulling it together. Take the brief survey and be a part of the gala. You can even buy a set of historic medallions as a keepsake.



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