Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, July 13

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Halloween on Halsted Photos

If you didn't make it to the 11th Annual North Halsted Street Halloween Parade and are wondering about what you missed, check out some photos. Better yet, all you parade-goers out there can join Gapers Block's flickr group and post your own pics for us to see. Surprisingly, this Gaper did not see a single, in-the-flesh faux Amy Winehouse all Halloween -- not even at the heavily populated parade. Did you? UPDATE: Here's one -- thanks, Ron!

Local Punkin' Chuckin'

CNN's running some entertaining video of Illinois Institute of Technology students and their pumpkin slinging machines. Even their brand new President gets in on the action. Sweet.

New City of Chicago Jobs Website

The City of Chicago has just launched a new jobs website. See all jobs here (there's currently only 11). The Tug Boat Deck Hand position looks pretty good.

Halsted to Broadway

Crain's has a nice profile of Chicago theater impresario Steve Traxler and the gamble he's taking bringing a challenging, but acclaimed, Steppenwolf show to New York's Broadway.

Getting Schooled

The Trib made a gadget that lets you measure your high school's performance against schools statewide. It's nice to see the tippy top of the list loaded with Chicago institutions.

Film & Fashion Night with Nau

Nau, the outdoor atelier whose clothes are eco-friendly is hosting a Film & Fashion Night in the South Loop on Tuesday, November 7th from 8pm to midnight. There's going to be BMX Ballet, food and drink (first drink free or so we hear) and other festivities. Learn about sustainable economy! It's free if you download, print and bring this ticket. More details in Slowdown.

"This is Marina City"

A new site about the Marina City building complex just launched, including a great promotional film from 1965. (As you'd expect with any condo association, there were some disagreements about how it should be done, so two condo owners did it themselves.) [via]

Conversations with Mario

Drive-Thru contributor Alan Lake posted an excellent interview with Mario DiPaolo, Jr., owner of Mario's Italian Lemonade, on LTH Forum.

Looking for Ghosts

Chicago is a city full of ghosts, and Irving Renquist is out to find them. There's only one problem: he's never seen one before. That's the basic set-up for Irving Renquist, Ghost Hunter, a new web-based mini-series. Check out the first episode here.

College Newspapers Clean Up

Three Chicago-area college newspapers won the 2007 Associated Collegiate Press Newspaper Pacemaker Award: Columbia College's The Columbia Chronicle, the Courier from the College of DuPage, and the University of Chicago's Chicago Maroon.

A Useful Message from the CTA

A pitiful email from CTA President Ron Huberman with the subject line "Please Prepare for Next Week" appeared in my inbox tonight. "I ask that you take the time to prepare for next week's commute," he begged me, asking that I review the service cuts and fare increases expected to begin this Sunday and create a new transit plan, if needed. Given the media blackout on this topic, I'm grateful for the update. Someone get that guy a copy of this book!

The News Grid

A new news aggregator called Newser debuted today, with a full-time Chicago-based editorial staff and freelancers summarizing as many as 60 stories a day. (Thanks, Phil!)

Got a PhD in Oprah?

The folks at have given Chicago's most ubiquitous talk show hostess "topic" status, but are still looking for the special person to serve as their official Oprah guide. If you think you've got the writing and research chops to cover O with sufficient expertise and grace, go check out About's online solicitation and apply. As a side note, other available topics include Forex trading, infertility and cheese.

Yet Another Googlemap, News Edition

It's been awhile since we had a YAGm, but here's YourStreet, a new mash-up that puts news on the map. Not sure it's any better or more useful than Outside.In, but now you have a choice. (Wonder what EveryBlock thinks of it.) (Thanks, Sarah!)

Steve Albini + Funny Laugh Ha Ha

The Sound of Young America, a public radio show out of Los Angeles, is doing a live show tomorrow night at Second City. The main event is an "in-depth interview with legendary music producer Steve Albini". Schadenfreude, Team Submarine, and Hannibal Buress will be doing comedy.

Blow Off Commuting Steam

Not as civil as the Tattler, but a good venue for transportation woes: CTA Sucks.

Chicago Streetballin'

It's a little known fact that superstar NBA player Kevin Garnett credits his year at Farragut and streetball in Chicago with helping him develop into the player he is today. Even if you're not into sports, it's cool to hear him say "Chicago embraced me when they didn't have to ... [they] embraced a person who embraced them."

GB on TV

Tune in to WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" er, tonight at 7pm to catch representatives from Gapers Block, Chicagoist and the CTA Tattler discuss blogs and current events.

A Self Made Man

Did you know that the founder of Selfridges, one of Britain's famed department stores, got his start in Chicago? (Thanks, Matt!)

Free Boo-Rito

Dress up like a Chipotle entrée tomorrow evening and get a free burrito.

Obama in NYC: the Lost Years?

An article in the New York Times investigates Barack Obama's short but significant time spent in New York in the 1980s as a Columbia University student and a brief post-graduate stint in international finance. Obama says his time in the Big Apple was "pivotal to his life"; however, he declined the Times' "repeated requests to talk about his New York years, release his Columbia transcript or identify even a single fellow student, co-worker, roommate or friend from those years."

Fat, But Not Lazy

Chicago's been at or near the top of Men's Fitness magazine's fattest-cities list for several years running, but just because we're overweight doesn't necessarily mean that we're shiftless. Forbes magazine's newly released list of America's laziest cities does not include our fair city among its top 20. According to Forbes, citizens of Memphis and New Orleans watch the most TV and move the least.

Rotten Neighbors

Hopefully you're not on this map. (Thanks, Ricky!)

A Shot of Red Eye

Red Eye, the Tribune's younger, bubble gum-chewing, celebrity obsessed sibling, just had its fifth anniversary. What's more, they've raised their distribution by 50,000 to 200,000 copies. Fab!

Five-Buck Flick

As long as you don't mind seeing a movie a couple weeks after it comes out (assuming it stays in the theaters that long), Kerasotes has a deal for you.

Even Shatner Couldn't Get a Better Deal

After honeymooning at The Palmer House in 1947, a couple from Milwaukee saved their receipt, and returned this past weekend to take advantage of a special offer: they slept in the penthouse suite once again, for the original $10/night rate. (Thanks, Dan!)

Haunting Ruins

Being Halloween week, it seems like a good time to link to the legend of Bachelor's Grove. Here are a couple videos. [via]

No Dessert for the Toddler

Todd Stroger apparently doesn't write his own speeches.

Trivializing Chicagoland

Chicago Metropolis 2020 and Jellyvision teamed up to create Metro Joe, a game that tests your knowledge of both the city and the suburbs.

Meet Emmanuelle Haïm

Emmanuelle Haïm, the Lyric Opera's first female conductor, will conduct Julius Caesar [pdf] starting on November 2. Listen to a podcast interview with her [mp3] for additional information.

Next Time, Just Politely Ask the Opossum to Leave Your Yard

The city Department of Animal Control will no longer distribute animal traps to residents in need of a (non-emergency) way to catch feral cats, bats, opossums or racoons that are taking up space on their property.

IIT = Exciting?

Someday this equation will make sense, if soon to be inaugurated IIT President John Anderson gets his way. Anderson would "love to see a little college town develop" around IIT's Bronzeville Campus, and in the meanwhile is charging ahead with efforts to improve student life and the school's national profile.

Rossville's Got 99 Problems, But a Witch Shouldn't Be One

When Witch School International set up shop in Rossville, a struggling southern Illinois town, not everyone was excited about the economic jolt.

Sam & Willy's Halloween Pet Parade

If you love dogs in costumes, check out Sam & Willy's 5th Annual Pet Parade this Sunday on the Boulevard Park at Henderson and Paulina. Prizes for Funniest, Scariest, Most Creative, and Best Overall costumes. Registration starts at Noon, and the parade begins at 12:30.

Make a Lawni Anderson Sculpture

You have until Oct. 31 to submit your art and interactive installation proposals for LAWN NATION: Art & Science of the American Lawn, an exhibition planned for May 2008 by the Notebaert Nature Museum. The in-house exhibit will explore America's love-hate relationship with grass through works of art, installations and special events. Here's a suggestion: An installation featuring sprinklers that actually water the grass, not the sidewalk or the heads and feet of passersby.

Sliwinski Found Guilty in Musician Deaths

Jeannette Sliwinski, the former model who killed local musicians Michael Dahlquist, Douglas Meis and John Glick in July 2005 while trying to commit suicide, was found guilty of reckless homicide today. Sliwinski was also deemed mentally ill, which lessened the initial charge of three counts of first-degree murder. She will be sentenced November 26.

Transmission Feature: Made in China

Over in Transmission, we've got a tale of how one Chicago artist is working hard to bring in some musical imports from China that are definitely good, and good for you.

Get Ahead of Femur

Head of Femur celebrates the release of its new EP, Leader and the Falcon, at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, tonight at 10pm. Here's a little taste (mp3). You could maybe head there after a drink with us.

What constitutes "Chicagoland?"

The Census Bureau now defines Chicagoland to include Jasper and Newton Counties, both in Indiana. Kankakee County, in Illinois, is out. A Depaul sociologist explains the implications.

Get-Together with Us

Members of the GB staff will be hanging out at the Green Eye Lounge tonight after 9pm for our monthly Get-Together. Show up in a Halloween costume and we'll buy you a drink.

Tetris Skyline

I had no idea Woot sold t-shirts, but this one is made for us.

Boxers on the Loose!

Two boxers from Uganda and one from Armenia who are in town for the World Boxing Championships at UIC have disappeared, but no one is sending out a search party for them; the men voluntarily skipped out on the boxing competition to see friends and travel.

The Invisible Blue Line

A federal judge said nix to the 28 aldermen who requested the names of the 662 officers with more than 10 complaints of abuse filed against them. Our mayor said the cops have a right to privacy.

Hell Yeah Dude!

"A new design journal for style enthusiasts."


The RedEye is running a Chicago's Most Beautiful Dog contest. In case Cute Overload wasn't enough for you anymore.

Public Relations Gold

Remember the plane that lost luggage in air? Following reports that among the lost luggage was an American Girl doll whose owner was "sad and sleepless ... since the doll was sucked out of the cargo hold," American Girl stepped up and sent her a new doll.

Weak, Strong, Who Cares?

Apparently now we're back to looking strong for the 2016 Olympics. We better not have to hear about every waffle for the next several years.

Wish Upon a Space Station

For six minutes tonight the International Space Station and shuttle will be visible in the sky above Chicago. The Trib has your timetable.

Transmission Contest: 4 Bands 4 Free

Over in Transmission, we're running a little contest. Wanna see?

Everyone Has a Secret

Frank Warren, the man behind the PostSecret weblog and books, will be doing two book-signings in Chicago today in support of his new book, A Lifetime of Secrets. At 12:30pm he'll be at the DePaul University Bookstore, 1 E. Jackson, with a multimedia presentation. Then at 7:30pm, he'll be at the UIC location of Barbara's Bookstore, 1218 S. Halsted.

Student Pledge Against Gun Violence

Today is the National Student Pledge Against Gun Violence's Day of Concern. If you're so inclined you can still catch the end of a special broadcast on B96 that will feature Obama, Durbin, Lisa Madigan, Dick Devine, and Arne Duncan.

Chicago: City on the Move

New from City Files Press, the people who brought us Richard Nickel's Chicago, is Chicago: City on the Move, 150 years of photos from the collection of the CTA. Buy.

Book Club: Disgrace & Apartheid

J.M. Coetzee, author of our November selection Disgrace, is well known for his literary explorations of social relations in post-apartheid South Africa. To help you better understand the politics and social unrest driving the novel's plot, and to save yourself some research time, check out the brief history of apartheid over at the Book Club page.


Mac addicts not participating in Friday's Critical Mass may want to head down to the Michigan Avenue store or other Apple temples at 6pm for the Leopard World Premiere and a chance at getting Apple swag.

CTA Employee Arrested for Credit Card Theft

Miranda Smith, a Chicago Transit Authority customer service employee, was charged with felony identity theft after she stole at least five credit card numbers of customers who called in to CTA to buy products. Smith was caught when a customer noticed unauthorized charges on their card and alerted authorities. Second City Cop has an interesting story about the reported effort by CTA to cover up the theft.

2007 Chicago Innovation Awards

The Chicago Innovation Awards -- which aim to "recognize, educate, and inspire" while promoting the efforts of Chicago-area individuals, organizations, and companies -- announced their 2007 winners yesterday. Among the honorees: The Goodman Theater, Radio Flyer, Experiencia Immersive Learning Center, Abbott Laboratories, and the City of Chicago.

Pravda Reports on Chicago Data Reticence

In an article that will give a shiver to anyone who remembers standard-issue 1980s-style anti-Soviet fervor, Pravda reports on the Chicago City Council's attempts to get the names of police officers with citizen complaints against them.

Local Fake ID Industry Gets Shot in the Arm from DMV

Get ready for a new take on your driver's license-- they're being redesigned to make it harder to produce fake IDs. New features: two pictures instead of one, birth date in two places, and graphics that are hard to duplicate.

The Collar Grew into an Apron

It's time to rethink what constitutes the Chicagoland area, says Kiljoong Kim in the Beachwood Reporter.

Kickin' It Old School

Fans of Chicago House music should be excited to see this trove of mix sets from WBMX in the '80s.

Harold Washington Housekeeper Dead at 102

Lillian Moseley, housekeeper to two generations of former Mayor Harold Washington's family, is dead at 102. She also worked in the home of late U.S. District Court Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz. Her secret? "Always doing the right thing in life."


Bulls forward Luol Deng is blogging.

That Door's Secure ... Right?

It seems a Delta flight lost some bags after taking off from Midway. So if you haven't already taken the bags from heaven to the local thrift store, they'd like them back.

Videogame Music Goes Big-Time

Videogame music has come a long way since Super Mario Brothers. Next March, the US debut of Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy will be at the Allstate Arena, performed by the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra. Tickets will range from $35 to $150!

Goal of the Week

The Blackhawks had a great weekend, winning against tough teams -- but this goal by rookie Jonathan Toews was the definite high point. (Thanks, Jim!)

The Little Sydney that Could

When you get a little glum about Chicago's shaky and possibly third-place contention for the 2016 Summer Olympics, think about Sydney, which was in the same boat when they were chosen for the gig in 2000 and pulled off a nearly problem-free event.

Manos: Rock Opera of Fate Toddles to the Stage

Wave that nerd flag high. My personal geekery is bound to my undying love of the TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, which ran on Comedy Central and the Sci-Fi Channel throughout the 1990s. To many MSTies, the apex of the series was its amazing send-up of the 1996 "horror" movie, Manos: Hands of Fate -- a flick that's so bad and yet feels so good. If you share my love of all things Torgo, you'll be pleased as punch to learn that the New Millennium Theatre Company is currently showing their satirical production of Manos: Rock Opera of Fate. The show will be playing through Nov. 3, and you can learn get tickets online or at 312-458-9083. I went last night, and let me just say: The Master would be very pleased.

Hard Boiled Anniversary Sale

Hard Boiled Records turns 11 years old on 11/1/07. So for the next 11 days everything in the store is 11% off the sticker price. Treat yourself to some discounted records, CDs, DVDs, comics, and zines at 2010 W. Roscoe in beautiful Roscoe Village.

Root for the Home Team

Our very own Naz Hamid is playing Layer Tennis today; go root for him in the forums!

Off the Hook?

It's still only conjecture, albeit from well placed sources, but Secondcitycop received a tip that charges against former SOS cop Jerome Finnigan related to a murder for hire plot will be dropped.

Out of There

Kevin Guilfoile weighs in eloquently on the trial of Jeanette Sliwinski.

NPR as Vice

In celebration of Tuesday's release of Peter Sagal's The Book of Vice, Chicago Magazine has a profile of the author and public radio persona that includes an inside look at the production of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me."

Good Thing We're Online Only

City Council voted unanimously recently to make it illegal to distribute free "newspapers, periodicals and directories of any kind on any public way or other public place or on the premise of private property in the city in such a manner that it is reasonably foreseeable that such distribution will cause litter." Litter is not really defined here, which means everything from delivery menus to phone books to the Reader and Red Eye -- anything containing a commercial message (political and religious materials are excluded) -- could be nailed with fines.
Interestingly, reprinted the article, but left out the paragraph noting the political and religious exceptions.

Kite-Flying Weather

Sure is, isn't it? But is it still kite surfing weather? The fine folks at Chicago KiteSurfing could answer that question and much more. Including a great page on how to repair or make your own kite. Cause the last think you want is a leaking bladder.

CTA Cares, Eight Hours Later

A weird, unnecessary email appeared in my inbox at 12:29 a.m. Friday morning from the CTA warning me of Thursday's late-afternoon storms, advising me to "allow for extra travel time on CTA service this evening." Thanks for the timely warning, folks.

More Movie Stuff

Hollywood Chicago yesterday published their review of festival hit Juno. The movie was penned by Chicago native (subsequently transplanted to Minneapolis and then LA) Diablo Cody.

O'Hare Screeners Miss 60% of Fake Bomb Material

USA Today reports that screeners at O'Hare missed about 60% of hidden bomb materials that were packed in everyday carry-ons. LAX did worse -- missed 75% -- while SFO missed only 20%. The head of the TSA says the the high failure rates stem from increasingly harder tests.

Listen Closely

This week's Transmission feature covers some local music blogs you may not have heard of.

Artists Still Starve

Joel Swanberg lives and makes movies here in Chicago. The NY Times and IFC have taken notice, but he still wonders where money for groceries will come from. The Reader profiles Swanberg and "mumblecore," the film genre he helped create.

Terra Back in Action

The Terra Foundation for American Art hasn't been in the news much since closing its Michigan Avenue Museum in 2004, but it's back in the limelight with a new $3 million program: American Art American City: A Chicago Celebration.

Outdoor Photography

The local Patagonia store is holding a photo contest. Local photographers are invited to submit a photo of themselves or family members doing active outdoor activities -- while wearing Patagonia clothing, of course. Three finalists will be selected to compete nationally for a trip for two to Vietnam. Bring your 4"x6" prints to the store by Oct. 31.

Welcome Back, Frango

Well, if nothing else, Macy's made good on one promise: to bring Frango back to Chicago. Cupid Candies will make the mints in its southwest side plant.

Book Club Recommendations

We're at the end of our 2007 Book Club picks and we're still in the process of selecting what we'd like to read for next year. That means that this is the perfect time for you to tell us what you want to read. Send us your book club requests and recommendations at bookclub[at]gapersblock[dot]com. The only requirement is that the books be somehow related to Chicago.

Here We Go Again

Why trim the fat when you can just pile it on? Let's see who's reaching into our pockets now. Well it's County Board Pres Todd Stroger of course. The Citizens Utility Board says his tax hike could cost the average family several hundred a year and has enough support that we should be nervous. What's that called again when the government takes all your money and decides where it goes?

TV Around the Clock

24/7 Chicago is a new TV show telling us about the "secrets of the city." No network yet, but sign up for their mailing list to hear it first.

Gleaming the Kennedy

The Chicago Park District is proposing building a sweet skate park near the Kennedy at Logan Boulevard in Logan Square. The park will feature10 ramps, benches and a drinking fountain. The tag is nearly half a million, but it's a small price to pay for reviving that blighted strip while giving skaters a place to show off.

Seen a Gnome Lately?

Specifically, this gnome? It seems to have disappeared on Northwestern's campus.

Trial Begins in 2005 Deaths of Local Musicians

Opening statements were made yesterday in the case of Jeanette Sliwinski, the Skokie woman whose suicide attempt in July 2005 took the lives of three local musicians. Michael Dahlquist, John Glick and Douglas Meis were killed instantly when Sliwinski's car crashed into theirs at an intersection. Sliwinski is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. The former model faces life in prison if convicted.

Does Gay Run in Your Family?

Are you gay? Is your brother gay? If so, there are a whole slew of researchers who want to sample your DNA. Not like that, silly! They're looking for a gay gene, or maybe even the set of genes that combine with environment to determine a man's sexuality. Which leads to a variety of problems and solutions. Lesbians need not apply for this study. Apparently you're genes are different enough to merit separate research. Someday.

Rolling On

The Chi-Town Sirens, Chicago's second roller derby team, never quite caught on and shut down after just two seasons. Rising from its ashes, though, is the Chicago Outfit -- the toughest, most committed of the Sirens, out to prove they're serious. They're having a costume party/open skate next week; details in Slowdown. (There's a Windy City Rollers bout this weekend, too!)

Getting Out the Vote

The Possession Obsession contest is in its final week, and ex-GB staffer Brenda is still in the lead; give her a hand to make sure she stays out front by voting today! And speaking of contests, you can also vote Cubs or Sox in People magazine's Sexiest Fan Alive contest.

Hester, Ridiculous

Whether you're a Bears fan who thinks there still might be hope for the 2007 team, or a sportswriter convinced the season is over, everyone can agree that Devin Hester, the Bears return man extraordinaire, is ridiculous.

Hail This Down

Dmitry Samarov blogs about his experiences as a Chi-town cabbie over at HACK. He even draws his passengers. The Sun-Times recently profiled this Soviet immigrant turned driver, including some fun quotes about getting propositioned.

That Great Street

Despite the Mag Mile's recent accolades, word is out that Block 37 may be host to retail locations from Apple, Coach, Puma, J. Crew and Zara.

1000 Knitters

If I were to add up all the knitters I know in person, or online, I could get probably get to a hundred or so. However, Chicago photographer and knitter Franklin Habit of The Panopticon is hoping to meet 1000 knitters and photograph them. The next public shoot is at My Sister's Knits (9907 S. Walden Parkway) on October 26. Since he's gotten Kaffe Fassett to knit with white yarn, maybe he'll even be able to convince Delores to pose for him.

Mag Mile: One of America's Best Streets

The American Planning Association has included North Michigan Avenue on their list of the Top 10 Streets in America!

Mapping Chicago History uses data from local churches, yearbook collections, neighborhood histories from the Newberry Library and information from the Chicago Historical Homicide Project to map Chicago's past. Registered users can add tags, comments, photos, stories and "Chicago Places" to maps on the site.

To Burn or Not to Burn

The City Council is currently considering a moratorium on controlled burns, which are used to restore native plants by reducing growth that might be blocking out sunlight, to get rid of invasive species, and to release nutrients back into the soil. Naturalists at Friends of the Forest Preserve and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County say burns are a best practice in conservation. A group of people living near forest preserves would rather look at trees.

U. of C. Gets Another Nobel for Economics

Roger B. Myerson joined the pantheon of University of Chicago Nobel laureates this morning by sharing this year's prize in economics for work in mechanism design theory. More explanation here or just try it yourself.

It's Thriller! Thriller Night

On Oct. 27/28, people around the world will do the "Thriller" dance en masse simultaneously in an effort to break the world record (yes, there's a world record for this.) The local contingent is organizing now.

Out of the Car

The good news we've heard about the police lately makes this tale of alleged excessive force all the more disappointing.

The Cost of Corruption

The Sun-Times has a short, hard-hitting piece linking the Mayor's proposed tax hikes with the hard costs of 13 recent corruption scandals.

Boxers on Parade

The human variety, not the canine. As part of a qualification tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics there will be a parade of boxers and their trainers next Monday, October 22 at 4 PM from the Palmer House to the Chicago Theatre. Any similarities between this event and the Olympics' opening ceremonies are purely intentional, as local Olympics boosters are hoping that this event will show the IOC that Chicago knows how to take care of international athletic competitions.


Speaking of going missing, the Sun-Times is about to start a series about the 20,000 people who go missing every year in Chicago. And this just in: the body with missing feet was found.

Victory's Banner Guru Dies

Sri Chinmoy -- spiritual leader, extreme weightlifting enthusiast and inspiration for Roscoe Village breakfast joint Victory's Banner -- died last Thursday. The restaurant will be closed for a week while his followers pay their respects in New York.

Chicago... NOW IN 3-D

And with a techno soundtrack no less.

Missing Something?

Two human feet were found in a south suburban intersection. Ew.

Cold Case Cracked, Cop Talk Used

It's easy to be enamored with the charms of Second City Cop. But today let's give some blue love to Checkboard Chat, the official Chicago Police blog. Today they give us some quality cop talk in describing how they cracked a cold case murder. Example: "The victim was then physically beaten by his associates." Bonus: "You can find anything on Craigs List"

A Local Battle

At 2pm today, Layer Tennis starts. Local designer Chuck Anderson competes against Steven Harrington. Consider your afternoon blown.

A Runner's Perspective

Frank Shorter, a two-time Olympic medalist, weighs in on what went wrong with the Chicago Marathon and what should be done to prepare runners for hot races in the future. (Thanks, Anne!)

YouTube Zen

A time lapse video of the day of the Chicago Marathon.

Chinatown Community Center Wins Prize

Remember the Partners in Preservation contest? Well, the On Leong Merchants' Association/Pui Tak Community Center won the vote. If you're interested in the rest of the rankings, here are the full results.

Go West, Running Man

Didn't finish in the Chicago Marathon? Head on over to Denver. Runners who did not finish in the marathon here are invited to register for the marathon in Denver, happening this Sunday. Short notice, I know, but if you can get there you won't have to pay the entry fee.

More Google Views

Hypertext has collected some more interesting captures from Google Street View.

Pret a Porter

We've mostly ignored Fashion Week here at GB, but Chicago Mag's Coda hasn't, covering the Genart Fresh Faces show and recommending our fashion scene get "a little definition."

Winged T-Shirts

When Threadless built their store, they did it the same way they developed their website -- they winged it. Crain's Entrepreneurs in Action feature covers the store and the company's plans for expansion.

A Cemetery Resurfaces

Up near Harvard, a family cemetery lost since the 1880s was recently discovered in the Alden Sedge Meadow nature preserve.

Undead Undead Undead

Post-Rock Orlok: As part of Macy's Day of Music, Tortoise will provide the score to F. W. Murnau's classic silent horror film Nosferatu, Saturday night at Symphony Center. You can see the entire film, with a more traditional soundtrack, here.

Wing Man

The Sox tanked, the Cubs are done and the Bears are shaky. Well here you go sports fans: the new chicken wing eating champion of the world is Chicago's own Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti! Congrats man.

Google Stalker

Who are the people in your Google Street View neighborhood?

Makin' Sandwiches

Over in Drive-Thru, we're talking about sandwiches. Come on over for a bite.

The Chicago Theatre's New New York Connection

The Chicago Theatre may soon be in the company of Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, given the completion of its proposed sale to Madison Square Garden Entertainment.


Apparently a batch of activists from the Rainforest Action Network scaled the Chicago Board of Trade Building this morning and unfurled a large banner protesting the CBOT for its trading of palm oil and soy. (Update) Naturally, it's already been flickred.

How Did George Harrison Put It?

Ah yes: (If you drive a car), I'll tax the street, (If you try to sit), I'll tax your seat, (If you get too cold), I'll tax the heat, (If you take a walk), I'll tax your feet.

Book Club: Disgrace

The GB Book Club's November selection--the last one of the year--is Disgrace by Booker Prize winning, Nobel Prize winning author J.M. Coetzee. Though Coetzee is most known for his contributions to South African literature, he has also served as a professor on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, and that suits our purposes just fine. You can read the introduction to this prize-winning book now and join us at the Book Cellar on November 12 to participate in the discussion.

Fuel Fixed

After some delay, the comments in Fuel are finally fixed. No more forced moderation! And speaking of Fuel, Roderick posted a link to a hilarious sticker on a CTA sign.

House Kicked Out

The House Theater has lost its lease at the hangar-like Viaduct Theatre on Western and must find other digs after its current show closes next month. Fortunately, the critical darlings' next show will be staged at Steppenwolf, and The Sparrow remount is still going strong at the Apollo. The House probably won't be homeless for long.

Drunken Debauchery -- and Dancing!

Found in the Library of Congress: The Public Dance Halls of Chicago, published by the Juvenile Protective Association in 1917. (Thanks, Erin!)


Want tickets to tonight's Patrick Wolf show? Slip over to Transmission for a quick contest. [Update: We have a winner!]

Chicago: Fashion Capital?!

Fashion Focus Chicago kicks off today and features a slew of events, including runway shows, shopping tours, free business development seminars for local designers, and fashion-oriented exhibits throughout the week. Click here for a complete schedule.

The Suburbs Are Cool

Details would like you to know that it's no longer cool to live in the city and you should all move to the suburbs. Preferably Naperville. Blogger Mike Marusin was interviewed for the story.

Sleazy Developers Take Note!

Are you stuck in a condo conundrum? An apartment abyss? Home hell? You've got a friend in the blogger behind I Hate My Developer. From assessment fees to her slowly gentrifying Woodlawn neighborhood, Lyletta Robinson blogs it all with an optimistic outlook.

Pages on this Patch

That Chicago produces great writers is of no question, but great books about our fair city written by hometown boys and girls are rare gems. Chicago magazine went to the experts to put together a list of great books about Chicago, most of which were authored by insiders.

Haute Spot

You may still like steak-and-potatoes, but the world doesn't see us that way anymore; Time's take on Trotter's 20th anniversary dinner and how it highlights Chicago's foodie transformation.

We're So Street

Google Maps Street View comes to Chicago. The Tribune waxes about the privacy issues that come with it.


Congrats to Jesse Rodriguez of Chicago, who was part of one of the winning teams in this year's World Cyber Games (an event which is, according to the Sun-Times, the gaming equivalent of the Olympics, so Chicagoans are already kicking butt in Olympics-like events). Jesse (or "AtmosFEAR", as he is known on the Internets) will share a $30,000 prize with his teammates.

It's Not Junk ... It's Art!

If you find yourself at California and 21st, look around! You're right near Little Village's own Museum of Objects Left on the Sidewalk. It's a mini museum from artist Rebecca Wolfram. Some objects left at her outdoor museum include a dead frog, shoes, coat hanger sculptures and lots of other odds and ends. Says columnist Tom McNamee, "If Wolfram tried this in, say, Kenilworth, they'd call the police on her -- and you people in Kenilworth know that's true."

Woah, Schwa is Closed? For Good?

The Food Chain and Time Out are reporting that Schwa closed over the weekend "indefinitely," and it might actually be a permanent thing. Stay tuned...

Be 1 in 1,000 for Cellphone Parking Payments

The City of Chicago just launched a new six-month in-car parking meter program. Drivers pre-pay an initial $15 either at City Hall or online and they get the device for free. The rate will depend on what zone the meter is located, and you have to call which explains all the recent zone stickers. It's a pilot program limited to 1,000 people.

Pierogy Poll

Whiting, Indiana, just over the border, is in a competition for the title of pierogy capital of America. Go vote!

Pulling Over the Party

The City ordered the "Party Cab" to clean out the decorations by Thursday, meaning there's one less interesting ride home.

Do You Have Photos from the Marathon?

If so, the organizers would like to hear from you. Check out the call for images in the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon Group for more information.

DARFUR/DARFUR Comes to Chicago

Starting today, a 6-minute program of changing Darfur photographs will be projected on the north facade of the Field Museum (visible driving south on Lake Shore Drive) to "provide visual education about the richly multi-cultural region while exposing the horrors of the ongoing humanitarian crisis." The exhibit will continue at the Field through October 12; through the following week, the images will appear at other Chicago institutions. Click here to learn more and check Slowdown for details about a related panel.

City Body Count Rising

Five dead, two wounded Now six dead on a hot and bloody October Saturday.

Running with the (Heat) Devil

Today's LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon will be a memorable one, as the unusually warm forecast is causing alternative preparations to be made by race officials to ensure the safety of the record 45,000 runners. Also, a number of CTA bus lines will be temporarily closed throughout the morning to accommodate the race route. Trains will be operating as usual. UPDATE: Despite precautions, one man died and 302 others were hospitalized as a result of participating in today's race.

Get in a Spooky Mood

Facets, the best video store in the city for indie and obscure films, has a blog, and they're posting a horror clip a day for the month of October. [via]

Mr. Skin Contest At Barbara's

Have you recently tested your nude IQ? On Oct. 11, Chicago smut slinger Mr. Skin [NSFW] will be speaking at the Barbara's Bookstore at UIC and hosting a gameshow testing your knowledge of exposed celebrity naughtiness.

Curse of the Billy Goat Continues?

Earlier this week, an unknown Cubs fan, apparently hoping to excise the curse of the Billy Goat, strung up at dead goat on the Harry Caray statue outside of Wrigley Field. The team needs the help: they're down 2-0 to the Diamondbacks.

Light Up the State

Visitor to the newly opened McCormick Place West Building may catch a glimpse of this very cool light installation by Jason Peot. It represents all 102 counties in Illinois as wooden houses, containing a proportion of wood that matches the county's population.

Blame it on Rio

With all the kerfuffle about the possibility of Chicago hosting the 2016 Olympics, you'd scoff at the idea that Chicago is actually viewed by United States Olympic Committee brass as the third- or fourth-place candidate for the job, right? According to Peter Ueberroth of the USOC, Rio de Janiero is considered the leading applicant at this point.

Reader Feedback

Speaking of the Reader, its redesign debuted today, and they've been brave enough to put up a page where you can tell them what you think.

No Butts About It

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was a little disturbed by the smiling butt ads for the Washlet that showed up all over the Reader website for months.

Book Club Happenings

There are a couple of things to note over at the Book Club page. First, the discussion questions for Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father are up and you can either start posting your answers in the comments now or wait until we meet to discuss the book on October 8. Second, we've got a review of the new local mystery/crime/noir anthology, Chicago Blues, which features the authors who work on The Outfit Collective, among others. If the book sounds interesting to you, come out to Buddy Guy's Legends next Friday to celebrate it's release and chat with the contributors.

Leaving the City

Over in Transmission, Craig talks with Rachel Ries about her new album and the possibility of leaving the city she loves.

They're He-ere

It's the 25th anniversary of Poltergeist, and for one night only -- tonight -- the original film is back in theaters. Catch it at the River East 21 or one of a handful in the suburbs. Don't go into the light.

Beat Out That Rhythm On A Bridge

As part of Chicago Artist's Month, local artist Hugh Musick is arrange a unique percussive performance. Head to the Clark Street Bridge tomorrow, anytime between noon and 1:00, and watch 60 drummers use hammers and mallets to bang out an Eric Roth score on the bridge itself.

Window to the Stars

The NY Times features Chicagoan John Spack's $100,000 domed observatory in its discussion of the burgeoning trend in home construction.

Glass Cracks Down on Creative Writing at the Times

Someone needs a Journalism Ethics class! Deborah Solomon, a New York Times Magazine reporter responsible for the mildly revealing "Q & A" section at the end of each issue, was recently taken to task by past interview subjects, among them This American Life creator Ira Glass, for fabricating pointed questions to fit dialogue spoken during her interviews.

Live-blogging "Top Chef"

Hey, if you're watching the finale of Bravo's "Top Chef" tonight, tune in to Drive-Thru too, where Shylo will be live-blogging with plenty of snarky commentary.

Mississippi Apologizing

The Tallahatchie County Board of Supervisors of Mississippi signed a resolution to apologize to hate crime victim Emmet Till's family over the conduct of the trial of his murderers (both men were acquitted and later confessed to the crime in a 1956 magazine article). Till, whose death partially inspired the modern Civil Rights Movement, is buried in Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, IL.

The Fat Lady Sang

The '07-'08 season at the Lyric Opera will be conductor and artistic director Bruno Bartoletti's last, after 51 years with the company. Despite this and other distractions, the Lyric's La Traviata opened last weekend to very good reviews.

Head to Head Competition

Who has the best burritos in Wicker Park/Bucktown? That's the big question with The Burrito Bracket. The site is run by Nate Silver, an analyst for Baseball Prospectus.

The Chicago (Science) Ten

Chicago: Science in the City kicked off yesterday in Daley Plaza with the unveiling of a list of the city's top-10 scientific achievements. For the next two weeks, organizations throughout the city follow up with a host of science fairs, career events, lectures and workshops, lab tours, and other activities. Click here for a complete schedule.

Are You a Geek?

Then you might be interested in the Chicago Geek Guide. Your one-stop shop for all things geek.

Hug Ban Redux

Oak Park principal Victoria Sharts clarifies her position on hugging, after the story on her ban on group hugs (which are apparently causing logjams in her school's hallways) was picked up by the media and misreported as a total ban on hugs. Uh, not that we had anything to do with that...

Arrgh! Fire Bad!

Someone at the Fire Department should have words with whoever failed to proof this bus shelter poster. Perhaps their dictionary caught fire.

Really Quick Review: Magnificent Magnificents

This sweet story about an elderly magician whose wife takes in a young stray (who then becomes the magician's apprentice) is brought to by super-creative storytelling that features a trio of clown-stagehands, dreams projected on video, and (not least) a host of stunning magic tricks and illusions. It's everything theater should be: emotional, inspiring, wonder-inducing. The Magnificents should not be missed (closes Nov. 2).

Back to (Film) School

Facets Film School's first fall term has already started, but the second fall term begins the first week of November and ends right before Christmas. Classes are weekly (with Thanksgiving week off), 7 to 10 PM, and cost under $100 for the term. If you like Woody Allen dramas, outlaw couples, movies out of Hong Kong, or Howard Hawks movies (and who doesn't?), you still have time to enroll. You can find more details here.

What? No Hug?

The principal of Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park has banned hugging, claiming that students are regularly late for class and crowding the hallways by forming "hug lines." Damn kids and their freaky hippie sex practices!

Click on Green

Chicago graphic designer Leah Dickey of Pixelgate Media beat out 435 other entries to win a worldwide design contest held by Yahoo to create a "green" designs for a taskbar icon. As part of her prize, Leah got to select which environmental-related nonprofit receives $20,000 from Yahoo; she chose the Green Street Project, an organization that is collaborating with civic leaders, government and media to get people engaged in making Chicago a leading environmentally sustainable city.


To get into the Halloween spirit, the fine folks at Facets are posting one horror film clip per day on the Facets blog. Expect to see a bunch of classic film moments from the people who run one of the best video stores in the city.

Do You Know Albert Zeno?

The Chicago Public Art Group would like to meet him [top story] in order to help document and repair one of his murals.

Little Arizona

Did you know there's a trailer park in Chicago? Way down in Hegewisch on the East Side lies Harbour Point Estates, which also boasts some of the best fishing in the city. It's in danger of becoming a new development of single family homes and shopping.

Another Chapter of the Cheetah Gym Drama

While we've all had our fill of the brief but entertaining Cheetah Gym Closing Scandal of last month, a recent check of a website forum that was created by a former member intending to coordinate a class action lawsuit for recovering gym fees revealed that although Cheetah has fully reopened, the site still exists, and the former owner of the gym (or someone pretending to be him) has surfaced in the bulletin boards. The resulting conversation between him and the other folks on the board is quite interesting. And completely bonkers.

A Drunk Billionaire in a Starbucks in Siberia

Did you catch Homer and Mr. Burns in Chicago? (Thanks, Dubi!)

He Produces, Directs, Acts, Raps...

While the season opener of Saturday Night Live this past weekend delivered another funny digital short, the finest sketch of the night was about local export (and SNL musical guest) Kanye West's visit to BET's 106 and Park to discuss his award show tantrums of late. To watch Kanye's music performances, click here and here.

Rio de Chicago

Crain's takes a look at the economic and business connections between Chicago and Brazil.

Hotel Chevalier on Your Computer

If you missed last week's Michigan Avenue screening of Wes Anderson's Hotel Chevalier, you can still watch it before The Darjeeling Limited by downloading it for free from iTunes [link will open iTunes].

The Pace of Politics

Speaking of surveillance, three and a half years after it was announced, the City Council Webcam finally went live last week. We missed it completely here at GB HQ, but Chicagoist liveblogged it. You can tune in again at for the next one on Oct. 31. Yep, Halloween. Bet that'll be scary.

Watching the Trash

Jonathan Gitelson (previously written about here) has had problems with people stealing his garbage cans. So he started documenting them.

City Surveillance Expansion

Chicago will soon pilot camera and analysis technology from IBM that will automatically detect everything from license plates to backpacks left on the street. Bonus quote from the article: "Studies have shown people fall asleep."



GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15