As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block is on indefinite hiatus. The site will remain up in archive form while we evaluate our options, which may include a redesign or sale. ✶ Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. ✶
I'm stealing the headline from FoGB Veronica Arreola, because it is perfect. There are so many Best of lists at this time of year, but if you want to know 15 (thankfully there are far more) women who did awesome stuff in Chicago this year, then go read about them. They're all awesome.
Paul Dailing writes the 1001 Chicago Afternoons blog as a sort of homage to Ben Hecht's gritty daily slice-of-life newspaper column from the 1920s. It was later compiled in to a book called A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago. If any part of you gladdens at accidentally wandering in to the meat packing district, or eavesdropping on late night bar brawls, or gaping at the people and places of Chicago with a sense of wonder, you will enjoy both Paul and Ben's works equally.
Do you remember last year, when a fan convention named Chi-Fi was cancelled due to accusations that hotel staff was rude to the fans attending the conference? Well, the conference took place this last weekend at the Palmer House Hilton. But, it appears that this first-time event wasn't very successful, at least not in the eyes of fans who paid to attend the convention. h/t to Darlene of Do Bats Eat Cats?
Data analyst Brandon Harris dug through the City of Chicago Data Portal to find the "dirtiest" restaurants in Chicago -- dirty being defined by number of failed health inspections, which commenters have pointed out often include "failed" visits from before a restaurant is even open. So, you know, caveat emptor.
Forty-two of Saya Hillman's friends have decamped for other places this year. Rather than despairing, she's embracing the idea that leaving -- temporarily or permanently -- may make her appreciate what Chicago has to offer even more.
Basecamp announced today the launch of The Distance, an online magazine about "bootstrapped businesses that are at least 25 years old." It's edited by former Tribune tech/business reporter Wailin Wong.
The folks at Forgotten Chicago have been busy, unearthing details about a shipping canal in the Gold Coast, radio showrooms on Michigan Avenue, 1 million vacant lots in Chicagoland, art deco masterpieces and many more long-lost works of architecture.
Ms.Fit magazine, a "body-positive, LGBTQ-friendly, unapologetically feminist women's health and fitness webzine," is just shy of making its fundraising goal to continue publishing in 2014. Pitch in here.
Today was the last day for several of the A.V. Club's veteran writers, including Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson and and Genevieve Koski. They're joining recently departed writers Keith Phipps and Scott Tobias to launch an as-of-yet unnamed new media company focusing on film.
Starting between 5 and 6am, up to 200 critically ill patients will be moved via ambulance to the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, which will require the closure of Fullerton from Lincoln Avenue to Lake Shore Drive for 10 to 18 hours.
Crowd-sourced website CTA Station Watch ramped up recently in order to help document all of the work now underway on the north end of the CTA's Red Line improvement project. Check out photos and posts from various stations slated for work this summer, or contribute tidbits of your own.
After watching Ben Joravsky shoot back at Frank Sennett and Dan Sinker over his Bulls game live-tweeting, Ernest Wilkins thinks Chicago's online media need to start a fight. He makes some good points, but I can't take that dandyclotheshorse seriously.
Curbed has been pitting neighborhoods against each other for its first ever Curbed Cup, and it's down to the final four. Vote now on Hyde Park vs. Uptown; West Lakeview and Lincoln Square face off soon.
Teen fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson has launched Rookie, an online magazine aimed at teen girls. Inspired by the defunct Sassy, Gevinson originally teamed with famed editor Jane Pratt on the project, but parted ways over issues of ownership. NYMag talked with her about it.
"I've loved baseball ever since Arnold Rothstein fixed the World Series in 1919," says Hyman Roth in The Godfather: Part II. Michael Rottman analyzes what that quip about the Black Sox scandal says about the character at The Morning News.
Manero, a new lifestyle blog from Urban Daddy and Heineken, aims to be your guide to the Latino side of Chicago. A few words in Spanish here and there might add some flair, but Gozamos has been around for a year doing the same thing without a tinge of condescendencia.
Sepia's bartender Logan Lavachek came across her grandmother's "Bar Aid," a cocktail recipe gadget from the '60s. She's working her way through its recipes and updating the ingredients; you can follow along on her blog, or sample her experiments at the bar. [via]
If the SNOMG!s and the apocalypse-style banter from the local weather reports have you shaking your head and wishing there was a more even-handed source for weather, then perhaps The Chicago Forecaster is what you're waiting for.
Roger Ebert recently started tweeting about items on Amazon, using an affiliate code (disclosure: GB uses an affiliate code on Amazon links, too.) Some of his followers were upset, and marketing news site Clickz interviewed him about it.
If you've been thinking about starting a business, lawyer Coco Soodek's Profit & Laws blog might help you decide what type of business to form. And her new book, Birth to Buyout, gives you pointers on every step of the life cycle of your business.
Fuck Yeah, Chicago!, a tumblr from Chicago magazine. Not to be confused with Fuck Yeah Chicago!!, the older, independent tumblr from a bunch of random Chicagoans. That one has two exclamation points and a mysterious extra k in its URL. (Nor with FUCK YEAH CHICAGO, which hasn't been updated since July 2009. Nor Fuck Yes, Chicago, which I just created.) UPDATE: I forgot to mention that you can also get this exceedingly popular phrase on a t-shirt.
The Waffleizer blog, written by former GB contributor Daniel Shumski, came to an end last week with a post about the one thing he promised never to make with his waffle iron: the thing it was intended for.
The muckraking bloggers at Cars.com have uncovered a new set of wheels gracing the set of Transformers 3. It appears that Optimus Prime and his Autobots will be joined by two new steel beauties, "a gorgeous red Ferrari 458 Italia and a not-so-shabby blue Mercedes-Benz E-Class." Let's hope Ironhide doesn't get jealous.
Chicago blog Strange Closets takes a close look at the charming and beautiful all around us. Similar to Apartment Therapy, but 100% local, the blog features shopping, interior design, and architecture you'll love looking at.
Apartment Therapy is looking for some guys who have a room in need of a do-over. Lucky for you, Chicago is one of their five selected metro areas (but sorry, ladies, this project is for boys only). Apply by May 24.
Always-opinioned local blogger Mike Doyle takes on the CTA union (who are fighting against personnel cuts) and explains why they deserve no one's sympathy. How strong are his feelings? He posted them in text AND video form.
When Becca's iPhone was snatched from her hands on the Green Line, she posted about the incident on her blog and quickly realized she wasn't alone. According to a few of the comments and an employee she spoke to at the Oak Park AT&T store, iPhone theft on the Green Line may be a growing trend. As always, stay alert.
Breaking news: Chi-Town Daily News laid off its entire staff yesterday and is closing shop. We're working working on the story; expect more details soon. UPDATE: Editor-in-Chief Geoff Dougherty tells me "All is not as it seems!" and that "closing shop" is not accurate. UPDATE @: Here's a statement from Dougherty about the evolution of the site into a new venture. UPDATE 3: Read our full story in A/C.
If you're interested in Bollywood movies but don't know where to start, let The Bollywood Ticket be your guide. Written in Chicago with an American perspective, it's a good entree into the sprawling Hindi cinema.
Apparently robberies including mugging were only up 1.1 percent through July, but it sure seems like violent crime is up more than that this summer, doesn't it? Anecdotal evidence sure points that way.
So New York City-based news-gossipy website Gawker recently launched a contest of sorts to find America's best news city. NYC nailed the top spot in their informal poll (what a - yawn - surprise), but Chicago tied for second thanks to a characteristic "vote early and often" push by local weblog the Windy Citizen.
Speaking of journalism and how to pay for it, if you're interested in that sort of thing you should come to the Chicago Media Future Conference this Saturday afternoon, featuring panelists from Chicago Tribune, EbonyJet, EveryBlock, Gapers Block and more.
WGN's Ana Belaval shares some thoughts on motherhood for Mother's Day: "The girl doesn't call me Mami or Mama. She knows who I am, she just doesn't call me anything. Well, sometimes she calls me Daddy."
Jessa Crispin, the founder of Bookslut, is leaving the Chicago, headed for Berlin. Her longtime assistant, Caroline Eick, is taking over as managing editor; Crispin plans to resume posting on the blog once she's settled and, according to her, stops crying.
Earlier this week, Time.com published a profile of Arianna Huffington wherein she explains Huffington Post Chicago's borrowing? aggregating? of content from local Chicago blogs thusly: "This was a problem with an intern." OK... Check out these posts at The Reader for some context. [via]
Every time I swear I have a handle on the local craft scene, I end up realizing that I know so very little about what is going on and who is making it happen. Thankfully, Christine Renee of Re-Conceived.com and maker of the Zombie Escape Plan has created Chicago Crafty, where she'll put up links to all the local makers, shows, boutiques that sell locally-made goods, art exhibits, calls for action, opportunities, networks, and oh my word! so much more. It's only been up a short time and it's chock-full of fantastic info already.
Uptown Update, the highly popular blog that has become a thorn in the side of Ald. Helen Shiller, particularly over the fate of the Wilson Yard Project, has been brought into that case by the attorney for the yard's developer, Peter Holsten. The attorney is subpoening records from Google about the ownership of that blog and another (apparently defunct blog) called "What The Helen".
The Obama inauguration poem gets critiqued by people who should know...the fans and members of The Poetry Foundation based here in Chicago. Judging from the comments section, not everyone was enthralled by the piece.
The ever-vigilant architecture critic Lee Bay looks at the rise and fall of the controversial Robert Taylor Homes on his blog. He even includes a link to video clip of Mayor Daley the Elder speaking at the grand opening.
"Other commuters, who probably did not even witness the arm-whapping, must have noticed me rejecting the seat, done some quick urban calculus, and come up with the answer of Maybe That Lady Knows Something We Don't."
Rogers Park has a vibrant blogger community -- which clearly has some infighting going on. At the risk of fanning the flames, here are the anonymously delivered the RoPa Awards, for the "Five Dumbest Rogers Park Moronic Idiot Blog Posts of 2008." (In everyone's defense, the year's not over yet.)
Need some new wall candy? The website Vintagraph hosts images and sells affordable prints of old WPA, health and safety campaigns and vacation promotions from the early 20th Century, including some simply cute ads for the BrookfieldZoo and celebrations in Downers Grove.
I don't usually dig videoblogs, but this site from the Wheezy Waiter is a good time. The videos are humorous and original, and made me laugh out loud. Worth spending some time on. [via chicagobloggers.com]
The Huffington Post's Chicago channel has launched. UPDATE: I've been informed that the site isn't officially launching till Thursday; what's out there for everyone to see is an unprotected, unfinished build. Avert your eyes! Or something.
Jason and Jennifer La Fleur bought a turn-of-the-century bungalow in Oak Park and began renovating with all green building materials, including soy foam insulation and toxin-free paint. Their DIY spirit and commitment to green have already earned them spots on the Today Show and This Old House -- follow along (and steal their ideas) at their blog, Humphrey House.
Two sites have their sights set on Uptown: Uptown Update and the Chicago Uptown Crime Blotter. The former looks at events both positive and negative in the neighborhood (although sadly, it's mostly negative), while the latter acts as a near-realtime tracker of criminal activities, pulled from eye-witness reports and police scanner activity. (Thanks, Amy!)
AREA Chicago is launching a new blog, Report Back, which is "dedicated to documenting events and people's impressions of them throughout Chicago." It's a bare bones site at the moment, but they'd like to change that with reader submissions.
Did you know the Sun-Times has a blog dedicated entirely to Oprah? It's true. It's called The 'O' Blog. And today, they liveblogged an episode in which Oprah spoke to a pregnant man (he was born a female).
Over at Second City Cop, one of Chicago's Finest and some of his fellow officers vent about the proposed changes by new top cop Jody Weis (whom they sort of humorously refer to as "J-Fed"). Let's just say that they're not too happy.
Announcing CitizenPowered, a City-sponsored site designed to bring Chicagoans together for collaboration with each other and community organizations. Find a job, help a nonprofit or connect with your neighbors.
Back in 2000, Sun-Times reporter Howard Wolinsky was among the first to have his DNA sequenced for genealogical reasons. The results sent him on a journey through family history, which he's writing about (and other genealogy topics) at Gen-erocity.
Perhaps you've heard about Kindle, Amazon's new "wireless reading device?" One of the things you can do with it is read blogs, including a bunch of Chicago-related ones (although not us yet, dammit). Click "more" to see a list.
You receive an email which contains a link. You forward the link to someone else. You get sued. A lawsuit filed this week in Kane County is seeking $850,000 in damages from Schaumburg resident Joan Burke. Her crime? Sending a email which contained a link to the blog Let's Stop Eastwood-Stein.
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.
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.
GB alumni and fellow teammate Luke Seemann recounts a hit-and-run during the team's weekly Saturday morning ride up to Highland Park and back on his excellent Chicago Bike Racing. Clearly an attack on the riders who were paying attention to the rules of the road, the culprit turned himself in and is now facing felony charges in court. Luke has further details on Thomas Lynch.
Movie trailer watchers and late night WBEZ listeners familiar with Ken Nordine may want to check out his website Word Jazz, which includes a blog with unusual poems starting with "Maybe the moment" and a
podcast of his late night stylings.
How do you combine office romance, food and blogging? Why, Olive and Mason of course. They're back reviewing restaurants after a year's hiatus. Check out what they've been up to and listen to their theme song. (Via Action-Squad)
In recent years the blog The View From The Ground has published news and analysis about the crisis of Chicago, public housing, police abuse, and economic abandonment through the intimate lens of the Stateway Gardens CHA development while it was being torn down during the CHA's Plan for Transformation. The blog is co-sponsoring a conference at the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School to explore the issues brought up in their work around Stateway Gardens. More information posted on Slowdown. The free conference takes place on April 21-20 and space is limited so get in touch and register through the website.
The fine frugal folks at Make Love, Not Debt tell of how they used their savvy powers of negotiation to watch the new "This American Life" television show for cheap. Find out how they added Showtime to their cable plan for just $2 a month.
Artist and friend of GB Phineas Jones caught pneumonia over the holidays, and ended up with fluid in one of his lungs. As you'd expect, he has some big medical bills, but he's uninsured, so he's selling art on his site, No Commercial Potential, to cover the costs of "lung reclamation." Help him out and get some beautiful art in the bargain.
Awhile back, I was talking to Tom Sherman about how there ought to be a site that covers the Chicago tech scene. Like Tech Social, but with news, too. A month later, he launches Windy Bits. Way to go, Tom.
(NOTE: not safe for work, but funny as heck) How does one define true happiness? For some guys, it's the feeling of mammaries resting on their head. One of those guys might just work in the Tribune Tower. Behold; photographic evidence that true bliss is possible.
Floyd Webb was interviewed in the Reader last summer about his current project: a documentary on Chicago martial artist John Keehan (aka Count Dante: The Deadliest Man Alive). With half a year's research, a bizarre tale of kung-fu, pet lions, comic book ads, death matches, and Mafia hitmen got weirder. Mr. Webb dutifully reports on his descent into 70s martial arts madness at his blog.
Chicago author Sara Paretsky has a challenging piece on the great Chicago Crime Writers blog about the abuses women suffer in incarceration. One telling quote: "It costs anywhere from $30,000 to $75,000 a year to keep a person behind bars. Conservatively, that's about $6 billion a year we're spending to lock up—and, apparently, abuse—these women, most of whom are non-violent offenders."
The Trib has an article about online sites where victims of street harassment can vent and call out their attackers. A small sidebar to the piece fails to mentions the Chicago version of the original NYC site, called HollaBack Chicago. There, you can read and submit experiences with unwelcome advances, leerings, gropings, and the like, and even send in pictures if you happen to snap one.
The Metblogs network is getting into the holiday spirit by having its local bureaus list "seven gifts their cities share with the world." The first Chicago entry is improvisational comedy; initial entries for other cities run the gamut, from Flickr to the Montreal Protocol.
A few new blogs on chicagobloggers.com worth mentioning: an entertaining real estate blog by "Real Estate Ninja" explains how underpriced the new $300 realtor parking pass is (i.e., two weeks of tickets), a fruitcake blog, mousebacon shows us the craziest house in Chicago, and very well-written blog Bella Rossa caught my attention with this post title: "Gabriel Garcia Marquez Shoots Reese Witherspoon, and I Can't Walk in These Heels." All worth your time.
Since college kids don't have enough online personae to manage, what with MySpace pages, Facebook profiles and Xanga blogs, UIC is exploring the possibility of a school-wide implementation of LiveJournal. The goal? Building community via an informal mode of student, faculty and staff interaction.
I read recently that, in the future, search engines will be able to reveal people's whereabouts at a given time, simply by the electronic footprints they've left. For now, though, that information is mostly captured voluntarily, making it largely the provenance of blogs. So it is that, if ever asked where screenwriter John August was when he started a play in late 2006, you can boldly answer "Chicago" -- qualified, as he notes for posterity, "technically, Evanston." [via]
The "Going Public" column in the Red Eye today talks to Yvonne Doll, a part-time cell phone photo snapper whose passion for photography has translated into a new web site Sleepyurbanite.com. For three months she has been taking pictures of slumping CTA riders who use their commute to catch up on sleep — whichever way they can. Droolers, beware!
There are thousands of blogs started every day, sure. Few of them, however, are written by Germany gentry in exile in Chicago. No telling what The Barony will be about, but who can turn down a promised "transformation from unclean prolatarian ingnoramity to cultural aristocracy"? Certainly not I.
Regardless of whether your reaction to Lily Allen's show last night was hurrah or ho-hum, chances are good you had a better time than Tyler Too Much Awesome, who passed out, and not thanks to over-imbibing. Not only was he mortified by causing a commotion, his mother didn't offer much comfort after the fact. Quoth Mrs. Much Awesome, "Well, it was your fault so it's understandable why you feel embarrassed." Gee, thanks, mom.
Speaking of "green thumb" options, newly launched blog Vegan Dinner is going the Julie Meets Julia route. Kinda: local couple Ian ("straight edge") and Kit ("strong, silent") are on a quest to try 365 new meals (vegan) in 365 days (one year). The recipes are accompanied by photos and organized by preparation time (20, 40, 60 minutes). I smell a book deal.
Taking another step away from scissors, glue, and late night photocopying sessions, our city's very own Punk Planet has redesigned and expanded its website. Of particular note is the addition of user blogs.
Kudos to local gal Hipster Pit for speaking truth to power / sticking it to The Man / subverting the dominant paradigm: in response to a Forbes.com feature on marrying a woman with a career (gone, but not forgotten), Ms. Pit composed a satire of the slideshow that accompanied the article we'll remember fondly as "Justifications for Being a Single Misogynist" (Gawker gives you a CliffsNotes version of the original). [Update: The text is back online, now with an officially published rebuttal.]
Vox, a new blogging service from SixApart, just released a Chicago skyline skin, which you can see on my silly little test blog. Obviously done from memory, since the east-facing view of the Loop prominently features the CNE building (which can't be seen from the other side of the Loop) and only a few recognizable buildings (Sears Tower, Hancock, Prudential and Aon). At least they tried. (If you'd like a Vox invite, let me know -- we've got four to give away.)
I haven't bothered with Time Out Chicago's website much after it launched, since it hid almost everything behind a subscription wall. But sometime a few months ago, they made most of the content public and launched a blog. Worth taking a look.
Friend of GB, scooterist, designer and vegan guide making extraordinaire, PJ Chmiel hits the open road on his scooter on a tour he calls the 2006 R.A.M.B.L.E. Ambitious in scope, it should be quite a ride. Follow along when he kicks off tomorrow.
Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell gets her new blog started off with a bang. No, "Hi, I'm Mary and this is my new blog" post. Nope. She delves right in with an entry titled Why I Write About Race. I have a feelings she's going to get a lot of people talking about, reading about, and maybe even writing about race.
So I've got a love for all things crafty and that's no secret. But most of your eyes glaze over if I go on too long about wool or knitting. And I don't blame you. However, even if you have no interest in the land of craft, you'll love Franklin's alter-ego roommate Dolores over at The-Panopticon. This sheep makes me snort on a regular basis. Without further ado, I introduce you to Dolores.
songs:illinois is an excellent little mp3 blog run by Craig Bonell in Oak Park. There's definitely a folk/ acoustic/ singer-songwriter focus but what excites me personally is that I've only heard of maybe one artist on the homepage. A nice deviation from Pitchfork and the like, dig in and discover some new tunes.
While I'm not entirely convinced the promotion of personal blogs by complete strangers is an epidemic problem in real life -- seems more confined to willy-nilly "friend" requests on MySpace at this point -- in today's Sun-Times, Andy Ihnatko offers an amusing checklist for smacking that would-be internet superstar down.
Coudal Partners has a great game on right now: take a band name and a book title and mash'em together. What do you get? Check out the stand-outs so far and submit your own to bryancoudal.com by Friday for a chance to win your combo in CD and book form.
I'm a crafty gal. But running a small business means I now spend more time reading articles put out by the Small Business Administration than I do reading knitting blogs. And I miss it. Thankfully ex-GB'er Brenda Janish has created a re-blog that I'm delighted by. re:knit culls feeds of many of the knitting blogs I read when I had the time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
EatChicago has redesigned. SharkForum is a group blog featuring some big shots from the Chicago arts and music scene, including Redmoon's Jim Lasko, New City's Ray Pride and Nicholas Tremulis. And holy crap! Sour Bob is back!
Eric Zorn of the Trib is doing a pretty decent job of live-blogging the primaries, if you want a wide-view. (And the turnout is SO LOW! They speculated at my precinct that 15% came out to vote, a lot of suburban items have less than a few hundred votes. Amazing.)
The succinctly named Live Music Blog is the web baby of northside Chicagoan Justin Ward. A venue (ha!) for his widely varying tastes in music, the blog is one part podcast, one part news thread and one part discussion group. The topics range from guesstimates on upcoming festival lineups, to music you should be listening to, to the news of a newly re-re-named local venue. (First titled the "World Music Center", then "Tweeter Center" now you can call it the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater. Whatever you call it, you still have to drive out to Tinley Park.) [Thanks, Dan!]
A day after the Tribune's snide editorial about the "indefinite" future of blogs, columnist Eric Zorn demurs, calling the paper itself "a veritable Blogoslovakia" with a growing presence online. Mind you, Zorn could have gone farther: he fails mention that the Tribune has taken to printing web log content among its editorials, and he's gracious enough not to point out that you just can't get more tired than Al Gore/Internet jokes.
Audio blog The Square Tracks is an interesting mix of self-produced stuff and shared mp3s. The most recent post is a set of field recordings made around the city, including a number of street performers you're likely to recognize.
Last night, Gapers Block met Chicagoist and Coudal Partners for a little friendly competition down at Lucky Strike: eight frames later (we ran out of lane time), GB emerged victorious! Here are photos from us, Coudal and Chicagoist.
Barbara Iverson of Columbia College has organized a group for local bloggers on Meetup, the second meeting of which is set for Wednesday night; this month's topic is search engines and audience building. The event takes place at 6:15pm -- register to get more details.
It's Bloggies time again — a time when weblogs plead with their readers to nominate them for an award that means little more than bragging rights among bloggers. But hey, we're not above that: it'd be great if you'd put our name in the running for a couple categories. May we suggest Best Group Weblog, Best Writing of a Weblog, Best Topical Weblog and, for Rearview, perhaps Best Photography of a Weblog?
The Sun-Times has finally caught up to the other major dailies and launched a blog: columnist Debra Pickett maintains the paper's everyman ethos with remarkably average posts. In the meantime, it'll be interesting to see which paper catches up to the Defender and adds a podcast.
Check out SHARKFORUM, a newish news and culture blog. Contributing editors include poet Simone Muench, Wesley Kimler, Dave Roth, Lynne Warren (MCA curator), James Beckman (co-founder of Ante), Mark Staff Brandl (corresponding editor for New York's Art in America), Jay Bonansinga (novelist and visiting professor at Northwestern University), Nancy Bockoven, Paul K, Ray Pride, and Norbert Marszalek.
The Tribune mentions today that there's a new Chicago news site, but this one has a familiar name: The Chicago Daily News, a news site run by a former Tribune reporter. The original Daily News ran through 1978, at which point the trademark lapsed on the name. The new Daily News is soliciting stories and photos from its readers, which will hopefully allow it to cover stories that aren't normally in the papers. Good luck, Chicago Daily News, and welcome.
It's interesting to find blogs by more than one person connected to Chicago's opera scene. Erin Wall, a soprano based in Chicago, writes at Canadienne (figures I'd discover it just as she goes on hiatus), and Brian Dickie, general director of Chicago Opera Theater, has his own blog, too.
Autumn may be leaving us, but the web makes it possible to hang on a little while longer with, well, some photographs of fall fruit. Over the past couple weeks, Thrown for a Loop has been "appleblogging." He finished yesterday with the Cameo variety, one he claims is hard to top. Makes a person wanna dash to the produce market while there's still time.
If you're a real Harry Potter fan, you know that there's just a few hours until GOF (that's Goblet of Fire, for those who don't know) opens at midnight tonight. If you're a fan, you also know all about Mugglenet.com. The site was founded by 18-year old Emerson, who lives in Indiana "near Chicago", who's helped out by his brother, and a team of Potterfans around the world (including one in Buffalo Grove). They have a virtual treasure trove of interviews, film clips, stills, and one very important countdown clock. Get your wands at the ready.
Music site Coolfer introduced Damian Kulash of Chicago's OK Go as a guest blogger over the weekend. Kulash will be reporting from the road as his band finishes its current tour; today, he takes on DRM. OK Go will play a local show on Friday, with a 7pm signing at the Tower Records on Clark. Fans or the merely curious can email Kulash: damian at coolfer.com.
Chicago-area blogger Mandy Stadtmiller (aka: Bloggy McBlogalot), has accepted a position as a features reporter at the New York Post, starting in mid-December. Previously, Mandy penned (or typed them using a word processor) articles for The Washington Post, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, The Des Moines Register and did PR work for Northwestern University. Did I mention she is funny as hell? Read her.
Barrington resident Megan Kearney is traveling around the world, and documenting it on her site, Me-Go.net. So far, she's covered Asia from Japan to Thailand; I can't wait to see where she heads next. You can follow along through her blog, photos and sketchbook.
Do you have a podcast? If so, ChicagoPodcasters.org wants to hear from you. The site is looking for "podcasters in the Chicago area to interview and submit stories from the people in their lives." Now if someone could just put together a directory of local podcasts... for now, this will have to do.
If I didn't know any better, I'd almost say it was a meme: within moments of one another Metblogs and Chicagoist each posted love letters titled with the "I (heart) U" formulation. The objects of their affection could hardly be more different -- Washington Mutual and Queens of the Stone Age -- but, on a dreary day like today, there are worse questions to ponder than "Whom do you (heart)?"
Introducing the University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog. It may have a cumbersome name, but the idea behind it is an exciting one. Promising to feature posts from "Chicago friends, faculty, and alumni," the site aims to take conversations outside the classroom and into the world.
As Matt points us to a great post made by Christine Cupaiuolo on Ms. Musings, I notice that she's packed up her bags. While she'll no longer be writing for Ms. magazine (a damned shame if you ask me) she will be continuing her writing at Pop Politics. It's always sad to hear that a professional weblogger has lost a job, but I'm glad that Christine has decided to stick around Chicago and keep writing. Her voice is strong and will carry on.
I don't know who Archie Gait is, or whether that's even his real name, but he deserves credit both for his site's enthusiastic voice and for its humorously straight to the point subtitle: "A blog dedicated to dispelling the myth that Morse Ave. is some sort of hellhole."
Chicago.Photobloggers has redesigned, and it's lovely. In addition to having actual photos on the site, they're looking for contributors to write articles about photography and photoblogging. More info here.
It's hard to believe that The CTA Tattler, the very funny and entertaining blog of all things CTA-related, is only one year old, but it's true. And tonight the Tattler celebrates its anniversary at Rock Bottom Brewery. Details on Slowdown. Happy birthday, Tattler!
Community Media Workshop is hosting a large conference today and tomorrow entitled "Making Media Connections". You can still register (follow the link prior) and there are various prices for the different sessions. GB co-founder and editor-in-chief Andrew Huff will be on a panel with Eric Zorn and Barbara Iverson called "Blogging and how it's transforming the media landscape". Now if this isn't all geeky enough for you, read Andrew's post, Eric's post and Barbara's post. Once that's done and it all makes complete sense to you, give yourself a pat on the back and then write a post about it.
Online News Squared is a newly public blog from Tribune Interactive, covering the field of online news. (They say it's been around since late 2003, but the archives only go back to April '04.) UPDATE: Author Scott Anderson explains that the blog started on Blogger, and he never imported them to Movable Type. So there you go.
Yesterday we noted the newly launched chicagocrime.org. Those who looked at the site closely might have read that its developer stated a wish to remain anonymous. That's evidently no longer the case. Adrian Holovaty has spoken up to claim credit, and, accordingly, you can now read his account of the site's aims, as well as get in touch to make suggestions.
If you follow U of C professor Daniel Drezner's blog, you'll know he drafted a tag team of substitutes to fill in while he was away on holiday. Drezner offered a "farewell warning" that the pair were of a different ideological stripe than that to which readers were accustomed, and, in his absence, commenters kept things plenty lively. David Greenberg, one of Drezner's fill-ins, describes the experience in the New York Times and concludes he's just "not cut out for blogging."
We're sorry to report the recent closing of the Honeysuckle Shop, a Wrigleyville lady-friendly sex toy and lingerie shop run by a husband-and-wife team. Leigh Anne Wilson, the public face of the shop and proprietress of the popular blog One Good Thing, shuttered their store after a bout with pneumonia. The Honeysuckle Shop remains alive online as well as in Wilson's garage. (Thanks, Marie)
I have a friend who can identify a car by sound -- the purr of the engine, the growl of the muffler. He'd no doubt enjoy Chicago Car News, a relatively new blog about automobiles. (And did you know the author of Autoblog is local?)
As odd as it seems, Chicago blogger Brandy Agerbeck seems to be the first person to create a blog specifically about her hedgehog. It's named Numo, not Ron Jeremy. It loves playing with toilet paper rolls. And she won't let my cats come visit.
LizWatch may have moved on to other topics without ridding the world of Liz Armstrong, but now there's another snarky, anonymous blog with a wider focus on the city's predominant free weekly: The Reader Sucks. In their first post this week, they passed on Crain's reporting that the Reader's circulation dropped for the sixth consecutive year.
A new blog has been making the rounds lately, appropriately entitled LizWatch: "There are far too many hours in the day and I have far too much time. This is a pathetic and bitter blog that takes the time to read and critique what is in my opinion the worst journalism in Chicago: ChicagoAntisocial." Unfortunately, the Reader still doesn't offer free archives of their content online, so you'll just have to pick up last week's issue to see what all the fuss is about.
In their usual practice of sucking the fun out of everything, University of Chicago professors are jumping on the blogging bandwagon. While not necessarily kept for professional reasons, most keep students in mind when posting to their sites. Because reading up on my prof's inner thoughts is totally what I wanted to do in my down time.
As the caretaker to two cats, I'm quite alright when you write about cats on your site. Last night though, it broke my heart a little (as it has in recent months with fellow friends with felines) to read about the passing of Douglas P. King, the friend, feline and companion to Chicago designer Patric King (infamous in recent months for the Gawker Empire's spread). Start here and read back and forth.
Thursday, February 24 at Roscoe's is the first-ever Gay Chicago Bloggers Bash, co-hosted by me, GB staffer Kris Vire, and Aaron Bailey of 601am and Chicagoist. Expect it to be a casual gathering not unlike our monthly GB Get-Togethers. All are welcome: GLBT or straight, blogger or non-blogger. Details, as usual, in Slowdown.
If you're a writer you're probably familiar with mediabistro, a website filled with articles on writing as a career and job links that, as a Chicagoan, I've rarely found useful. Today the site launched five new weblogs, including MBToolbox, a "resource blog for journalists and writers." The blog's editor? Chicago's own Claire Zulkey. Suddenly my faith in mediabistro is renewed.
And you thought we were the only ones who read the Sun-Times (and Tribune) so you don't have to. Introducing Sun-Times Watch, a daily blog where "Kit Kinzie" and "Will Wabash" dish on the tabloid's foibles. How soon before Trib Watch debuts? Oh, wait.
Chicago film-maker and stage performer Richard Bluestein has apparently freaked out the fathers of podcasting, Adam Curry and Dave Winer, with his podcast featuring a character he created: Madge Weinstein, "saucy, outspoken breast cancer survivor and opinionated lesbian activist." Richard's crime? His podcasts were scripted, and Adam and Dave thought they were real.
To that end, they recorded a podcast in which they tried to puzzle out what to do about the situation. The majority of the reaction they've received from the podcast community, as The Register reports, ranges from incredulity that they could have been deceived by a guy in a dress to outright hostility at the idea that the founders of podcasting want to somehow regulate or label content. Nice work, Richard! It's not every day a Chicagoan fools Adam Curry.
BigHappyFunhouse has started a weekly contest. Each Friday, he'll put up a special photo, and your job is to write a story to go with it and send it to ronbighappyfunhousecom by the following Thursday. The stories will be judged by a panel that includes yours truly, and the winner will receive a cool-ass prize -- the first is a set of four 1966 Robin (as in Batman and) mugs and a picture of a baby in a hat. Good luck!
Friend of GB Alicia Frantz is creating a care package for her brother, who is currently stationed in Iraq. In keeping with her orientation toward audio, she's sending him a bunch of minidisks, including one containing messages from random people back home. She's soliciting contributions: record a short message in .mp3, .aiff or .wav format and either email it to her or tell her where online she can grab it at aliciafrantzgmail.com, or in the comments of this entry. The deadline is tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon.
Chicago Blogmap, one of two online collections of Chicago area blogger links that categorizes its entries by stops on the CTA train lines (the other one being Chicago Bloggers), has moved to its own domain, chicagoblogmap.com, after being hosted at Paul Goyette's site for well over a year. Adjust your bookmarks.
BlogChicago is a new site started by a journalist and a couple copy editors. The content is currently made up mostly of music and movie reviews, as well as an "e-poll" asking random questions to local media and celebrities. However, the site also offers a Forum in which to discuss topics of the day.
It's interesting to watch old media dip their feet in the blogging pool, and how each one goes at it. The Trib's Eric Zorn has been at it with his Notebook awhile now, and his colleague Maureen Ryan now has a TV blog (and someday the Tribune will give them permalinks).
Jack Mabley, the 89-year-old editor emeritus of the Daily Herald, has his own blogspot, though it's been quiet in recent weeks. And Chicago Public Radio has gotten into the act with a "Pledge Blog" with their current pledge drive.
Our pals over at Chicagoist are hiring. Well, maybe hiring is the wrong word, since I'm pretty sure they (like us) are an all-volunteer army. At any rate, if fine arts, food and restaurants, or GLBT happenings are your forte, then Chicagoist would like to hear from you.
Not Chicago news, but fans of Movable Type (the software used to power this very site!) will want to check out this profile of MT and Six Apart in today's Wall Street Journal, if only to see the stipple portraits of Ben and Mena Trott.
Chris Karr is on a mission of sorts. He's set some rules for himself:
1. Carry a digital camera as often as possible.
2. Every day until October 31, take at least one photo.
3. No seeking out sites for the primary purpose of photographing them. Interesting things from daily life only.
4. Let viewers come up with their own stories to go with the photos.
The result: Chicago Photo Weblog.
We were saddened a couple of weeks ago, when we read that Aaron of Uppity-Negro had died. But we're glad to read that Aaron's mother Jessie, and his sister Val, will be keeping his blog alive by updating on occasion. Their first post shows promise and I think Aaron would be proud.
Del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager that allows you to categorize and share your bookmarks, while subscribing to other peoples' lists. There is, of course, a Chicago page, that lists all bookmarks tagged with "Chicago."
Six Northwestern graduate journalism students put together goskokie, which is supposed to be a community-driven website for Skokie residents that offers Skokie news. (Sort of a GB North.) Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated in nearly a month, and this (in addition to Dan Gillmor praising the site in a blog posting yesterday) prompted the reporters over at The Register to have a bit of fun and surmise that Skokie has disappeared.
West Chicago-based Kirk Johnson of American Amnesia is one of the few dozen bloggers covering the Democratic Convention this week. He tells The Wall Street Journal that his coverage will be different from that of the 13,000 traditional journalists: "News viewers have to cut through a lot of lard before getting to the guts of an issue, which gets old pretty fast." He's accepting contributions to help pay the way.
Having had many unhappy experiences in suburbs and pseudo-suburbs of this fine city and others, and loving this fine city so very much, I'm inclined to never move to a suburb. However, Flea tells us a story (June 26th entry) which makes me understand the draw of the suburbs a wee bit more than I do now. It's all about the kids.
Boystown-based blogger palochi proposes a new activity for all you WiFi-enabled tipplers out there: Wardrinking. "Instead of driving around in your car looking for open wireless connections (i.e., wardriving), you go to bars and see if there's an unprotected hotspot you can use." Intriguing. [via Bradlands, who may be moving to CHI from STL this summer.]
Skokie has gotten a community weblog all of their own. Go Skokie is aims to "create a community driven Web site for Skokie that offers 'news for the people by the people.'" The site was created by a team at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.
One Good Thing writer and Honeysuckle shop owner, Leigh Anne Wilson gets quite a nice write-up in Friday's Chicago Tribune. The geeky journalism student in me is jealous that I didn't get to write the lede. It's perfect.
Some of you have entertained the thought of attending culinary school. Perhaps as a patissier? If you'd rather live vicariously, then take a peek and read what it's like at Pastry School, written by Meg, who's currently attending here in Chicago.
The Daily Herald ran a mini-series on weblogs in yesterday and today's papers. In the first, Sour Bob beats groupies away with a stick; in the second, the reporter blogs about his love for Mimi Smartypants. (Disclosure: GB's editor was interviewed for both stories. His quote in today's article was taken out of context.)
Centerstage, the original events listings site (but don't tell Metromix), has started a blog. Hopefully they'll fix their comments, so we can respond to their call to "tell us more about [the city], in detail, with links."
Especially, our librarian, Alice. The owners of House in Progress were trying to track down info about their street. They asked Alice, and she answered them. Librarians don't know everything, they just know how to find it.
The Bloggies, the longest-running weblog awards presentation (not that that's much of a boast), have announced the nominees, and there are two from Chicago in the running. Bookslut, a recent emigre from Austin, is nominated for Best Topical Weblog, and Sabrina Faire is up for Best Tagline. Go vote!
Alas, Gapers' Block was not nominated. Oh well, maybe next year.
Incidentally, Nikolai Nolan, the creator of the Bloggies, also codeveloped the Chicagobloggers blog map. Pretty nice of him, considering he lives in Michigan.
Jorn Barger, creator of Robot Wisdom, one of the first weblogs -- in fact, he coined the term -- has been missing for two months. Barger moved to a small New Mexico town from Chicago last year, but hasn't been heard from online since October 1, and his housemate hasn't seen him since, either. Eric Wagoner is starting a search. UPDATE: Apparently his disappearance was the result of a domestic dispute. No need to panic, stop searching under bushes.
Jessa Crispin, creator of the literary weblog and e-zine Bookslut, is on the cover of the Chicago Reader this week talking about her blog and her experience with incurring the wrath of writer Dale Peck. Jessa recently moved to Chicago from Austin, and we're thrilled to have her. This is also the Reader's Fall Books issue so run out and grab a copy.
IIT's Shlomo Argamon helped write the algorithm behind the Gender Genie, this week's blog meme. Enter a passage of text and the Genie predicts the author's gender. I entered several days of Merge, the Proprietors page and the current installments of Detour, Airbags and Fuel, and the results were unanimous: Gapers Block is a boy!
This week is the third Wednesday of the month which means it must be International Blog Meetup Day! Come meet some of your fellow bloggers this month at Southport Lanes located at 3325 N. Southport, Chicago, IL 60657 starting at 7pm. Let us know you're coming via RSVP at Meetup.com. Hope to see you there.
Sadly we report the demise of The Making of a Restaurant, a weblog by Sandor Weisz and Luke Seemann. On a happier note, we'd like to officially welcome Luke to the staff here at Gapers' Block! (Not that we had anything to do with them shutting down MoaR.)
Former Reader and McSweeney's writer Neal Pollack returns to town to promote his latest book, "Never Mind the Pollacks." Thursday, Oct. 16, there will be a free reading at Quimby's (1854 W. North) at 7:30, followed by a 9:30 show at the Subterranean (2011 W. North) with his band, The Neal Pollack Invasion ($8). Friday at 12:30 he'll read at Borders (150 N. State), then at 9 open for comedy troupe Schadenfreude at the Athenaeum (2936 N. Southport; $20).
Coudal Partners and 37signals still have a couple spots left open for their Bloggingworks workshop next Friday, Oct. 3. Tell your boss -- no, tell the CEO -- this is one workshop your company can't afford to pass up.
Of interest to bloggers in Chicago and elsewhere, a columnist in Canada's Globe and Mail writes today about his discovery of the "blog phenomenon," which he writes, "is perhaps the strangest side of the Internet. It's stranger even than all the porn."
Ruthie shows us evidence (scroll down a little) of how to make your finger turn into a small penis. Make sure you credit her the next time you work that into your party repertoire. It's a sure bet to impress the folks.
Localfeeds is a new blog aggregate service that incorporates GeoURL; any site that offers an XML/RSS feed and has GeoURL coordinates is picked up once an hour and collected on one page. The service is still fledgling (~500 blogs tracked), but Chicago's page is a promising start.
Normally Bonne Marie Burns writes poetically about all things knitty. But occasionally she writes eloquently about her life as a television news camera operator. Today she writes about her experience filming live during Chicago's first multiple workplace shooting since February of 2001.
Pass this one on to your boss: 37Signals and Coudal Partners are teaming up to offer BloggingWorks, a one-day workshop on "how your business can harness the power of weblogs to improve efficiency and communication."
In what may become a daily read for me, the misleading-at-first-but-makes-sense-after "North Avenue Traffic Report" (currently in a I-just-moved-no-internet hiatus), a site by one Ira Cox, details his adventures on his fixed gear bike (a man after my own heart), and escapades dumpster diving around the city. It's shocking to see the sort of stuff he finds... Via the indomitable Kiplog.
Former Chicago web logger, soon to be ex-patriate traveling around the world, Paul Nendick gives us as his final good-bye gift, his round-up of favorite Chicago restaurants. Some obvious choices -- and some hidden gems ready to be jumped on. Good luck Paul!
As the capping event of the Digital Genres Conference(disclaimer: I am the conference organizer) uber-blogger and web-guru David Weinberger will be giving a talk on 'Why Weblogs Matter' 8pm May 31 (next Saturday) at the Julia Friedman gallery in the west loop. After which they'll be a huge party with lots of complimentary booze and the ranks of the conference goers will be swelled with artists, bloggers and other suspicious bohemian types. Come for the Heidegger, stay for the Heileman's! All are welcome.
Ian Clarks weighs in on my Malaysian Invasion (at the bottom) as his in-vogue drink a few weeks back, but more interestingly, his twist to the recipe (sub Lingonberry juice for Cranberry) becomes the Scandinavian Invasion. A drink that sounds pretty damn tasty.
Hmmm, Gawker stalker is now stalking Chicago? "I saw Josh Hamilton at the 10:00 Saturday night performance of Wigfield (starring Strangers With Candy's Amy Sedaris, Steven Colbert and Paul Dinello) in Chicago. He was very cute, despite having two very dark front teeth." Hamilton, of course, is starring in Richard Greenberg's play The Violet Hour at Steppenwolf.
Our very own Dave Elfving as well as our friend Alicia Frantz appeared on NPR's Morning Edition. The online version is here. Dave's audio entries are here. There used to be much more but he's taken most of them down and left you with a selection of "The best of". Alicia's sounds are at Audible Frequency. Don't be fooled by the props that I got, I'm still, I'm still Chicago from the block.
Chicago Uber-Blogarista Mimi Smartypants includes a scathingly brilliant review of Boss Bar in her latest blog entry. As usual the inimitable Smartypants stylings are in full effect. We should get her on The Block.