Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Styling lady parts

Posted By on 02.29.12 at 01:25 PM

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Debate raged hot this morning at the Chicago Reader copy desk as we tried to figure out the proper way to style that most euphemistic of all vagina euphemisms, “lady( )parts.” Should we leave it open, just like that, or close it up, as Rick Santorum supporter Foster Friess prefers? (Rimshot!) It’s not in Merriam-Webster. The Chicago Manual Style Q&A, which often helps us work out the finer points, was silent (and I’m too embarrassed to query Q&A maven Carol Fisher Saller on the topic). Googling “lady parts one word or two” wasn’t helpful, but you don't need to be told that. So I took a survey of some prominent publications to see how they handled it. Results after the jump. We're open to suggestion, too.

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What's new again: Frederick Wiseman's Model

Posted By on 02.29.12 at 12:46 PM

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The Music Box’s current run of Crazy Horse offers a good excuse to delve into director Frederick Wiseman’s body of work. All of his 37 documentaries are worth seeing, though the size of his catalog makes it difficult to know where to start. I’d recommend High School (1968) or Welfare (1975) as a point of entry—though I’d add his filmography is more varied than these bitter social portraits suggest. Starting with his compassionate tetrology about Alabama’s schools for the handicapped—Adjustment and Work, Blind, Deaf, and Multi-Handicapped (1986-87)—Wiseman’s documentaries became more plaintive, at times even serene. Some of them deepen upon comparison with similar films in the Wiseman canon, as they reveal his maturation as a thinker over the past five decades: for instance, the charter school of High School II (1994) poses a healthy alternative to the authoritarian zone of High School; and the life-affirming depiction of social work in Domestic Violence (2001) counterbalances the nightmarish portrait of Welfare.

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12 O'Clock Track: Chicago Underground Duo, "Moon Debris"

Posted By on 02.29.12 at 12:00 PM

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Next month Chicago cornetist Rob Mazurek debuts two new related projects. On March 21 his trio Throne of the House of Good and Evil, with drummer John Herndon and bassist Matthew Lux, plays at the Hideout, and a few days later his Pulsar Quartet—the same lineup plus superb New York pianist Angelica Sanchez—debuts with a four-night residency at the Whistler. But one of Mazurek's most durable units has also been busy: in two weeks the Chicago Underground Duo, his project with percussionist Chad Taylor, releases Age of Energy (Northern Spy), its first new album since 2010's Boca Negra.

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They were only freshmen

Posted By on 02.29.12 at 11:00 AM

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There are several very good reasons why I don't really care who did or didn't make the 2012 edition of XXL magazine's annual Freshman Class feature, which highlights rappers with the potential to break out over the next year. The top three, in descending order, are 1) the ongoing catastrophic laptop malfunction that's currently taking precedence over everything else in my life, 2) the fact that I understand that these sort of features are purely subjective, and 3) the fact that I understand that manufacturing buzz by trolling hardcore hip-hop fans is kind of half the point of the Freshman Class. (The Internet has decided yet again that this the "Worst XXL Freshman Class EVAR," of course, which amounts to proof.)

But Rap Twitter doesn't feel the same way, and all day my timeline has been blowing up with people who are outraged (outraged!) that certain rappers made the Freshman Class while certain other ones did not. Despite the fact that I'm aware that the only people who will give a shit about the XXL cover 30 days from now will be the rappers on it, the most popular suggestions I've seen concerning who should have made the cut actually comprise a pretty nice collection of talent. So after the jump I threw together a little YouTube mix tape of them.

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HSDC's Alejandro Cerrudo creates a no-hype zone

Posted By on 02.29.12 at 10:35 AM

Alejandro Cerrudo
  • Alejandro Cerrudo
At a press conference Tuesday, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago announced that it'll open its 35th season this fall with a new work inspired by Marc Chagall's America Windows, the Art Institute’s 35-year-old stained-glass icon. And here's the cleverest part: where the Chagall was dedicated to Mayor Richard J. Daley, HSDC’s evening-length riff on it will be dedicated to Mayor Rahm blah-blah-blah. . . .

America Windows
  • America Windows

But God bless choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo for not adding to the blahs.

When pressed for his ideas on the Chagall windows, Cerrudo—a Spaniard who joined HSDC as a dancer in 2005 and became its first resident choreographer in 2009—didn't prolong the ass-kissing. Instead, he replied like an artist, saying that the new dance would communicate “mystery.” “I don’t want to be literal," he commented. "I don’t want to teach anyone anything.”

Paraphrasing a famous George Balanchine remark, Cerrudo asserted that his new dance “won’t be a story, but it won’t be abstract. Any time you have a man and a woman onstage, there’s a story.”

As yet untitled (though Cerrudo mentioned "A Thousand Pieces," referring to the many panes of glass in the Chagall), the new work will be set to music by Philip Glass and debut at the Harris Theater during HSDC’s fall engagement, October 18-21, 2012.

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Leap Day revisited

Posted By on 02.29.12 at 10:00 AM

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  • DieselDemon
Such is the import of Leap Day that I can’t recall having noticed its existence four, eight, or 12 years ago, or beyond. It coincides, fortuitously, with the presidential election cycle, providing one extra day of talk about whatever issues candidates are most passionate about—this year, contraception, Islamism, Saul Alinsky, child labor, etc. Is it only February? I sifted through some New York Times archives to investigate the issues of the day four and eight years ago: In 2008 Barack Obama’s opponents in the race were really starting to unload on him, with Hillary Clinton comparing “his promise of change to celestial choirs” and the Tennessee Republican Party going out of its way to make sure his middle name, Hussein, stuck to his campaign. (It was around this time that the party published, then regretted, pictures of Obama in “a traditional African outfit,” according to the Times.) On February 29, 2004, John Kerry was the front-runner in the race, seeking sound bites: “Mr. Kerry, after all, is the kind of orator for whom sound bites can become four-course meals, so anything that fits on a bumper sticker, or even a banner, is a blessing.”

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An introduction to the new Bleader

Posted By on 02.29.12 at 09:22 AM

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If you're reading this and it's March 2012 (or alternately, it's February 29, 2012; damn leap years), then welcome to the new home of the Bleader. As you can tell from the name of this blog, our stay at Portmanteaus Anonymous didn't work out. We tried to come up with a title even more stupendous, but our impulse to mash "Blog" and "Reader" together was too great. Be thankful we didn't go with "The Rog."

We think the new Bleader will be easy to navigate, so we won't spend a lot of time going on and on about it. If, however, you encounter bugs or want to lob constructive criticism our way, please speak up by commenting on this post.

A few pointers: at the top of this page, you'll notice a row of tabs with words like "All," "News," "Arts," and so on. The purpose of these tabs is to filter the content of our blog to better guide you to what you're looking for. While the blog is intended to be read as a general-interest publication, you can also read it as a politics, arts and culture, food and drink, film, or music and nightlife blog, depending on your mood.

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Cook County state's attorney pans marijuana decriminalization

Posted By on 02.29.12 at 09:00 AM

Anita Alvarez
  • Anita Alvarez

Elected officials in other places are talking openly about pot.

Last week Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn called for legalizing marijuana, saying prohibition finances a violent criminal trade and “fuels a biased incarceration policy.” Chicago also has a racially disparate enforcement policy—the grass gap—but in Washington voters will get to weigh in on the matter this fall, when statewide ballots will include an initiative legalizing possession of an ounce of pot for recreational use. It’s sponsored by the former U.S. attorney in Seattle. A similar measure just made the ballot in Colorado.

Meanwhile, governors Chris Gregoire of Washington and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island have called on federal authorities to reclassify marijuana so medical use isn’t a federal crime, and other states have since joined in resisting the Obama administration’s capricious pot policies. Closer to home, Evanston softened penalties for low-level possession last year, while officials in downstate Galesburg are currently pondering a ticketing policy. And there are more.

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The game of misfits

Posted By on 02.29.12 at 07:09 AM

Pinball art by Dave Christensen
  • Eric Kantor
  • Pinball art by Dave Christensen
The first time the world said no to me because I was too young, what I was too young to do was play pinball. The playground around my new school, Prince Charles Elementary in Sudbury, Ontario, was covered with pebbles, but at its westernmost end there was a dip into a dirt field where older kids played football, and beyond that field, beyond the magisterium of the principal, Mr. Carlaw, a tiny general store offered a pinball machine. I think it was the first one I ever saw. I’m not sure what age I had to be to legally put a nickel in the slot, but it was an age I was nowhere close to. I was seven.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Talking reefer in the land of Antonin Scalia

Posted By on 02.28.12 at 05:33 PM

Hey, its no Evanston.
As part of our mission to talk to anyone about anything, Mick and I drove to the University of Chicago to discuss marijuana—yesterday charter schools, today reefer!

We covered the waterfront.

The room's packed. Never knew so many students at the U. of C. cared so much about reefer.

First question: Who plays the better stoner—Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski or Brad Pitt in True Romance?

Just kidding, though I think we'll all agree that would make a fascinating topic for debate.

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