Journalists, meanwhile, tried to figure out if any of the shifting explanations for the plan were actually based in fact, since it was originally presented as a way to save money, then to improve school performance, then to cut the dropout rate. The answer: not exactly.
Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel didn't attend any of the public hearings and was on a ski vacation when the closing list was released in March. Most recently, in the days leading up to the final decision, he largely avoided the public and the media.
In case you missed it, here's the schedule he kept in the week before the board's vote:
Given Dance Mania's reputation and importance, I was pretty eager to get down to Barney's basement and literally get my hands dirty searching for the label's classic records. So I recently headed down to Lawndale with videographers Dustin Park and Peter Holderness in tow, where we explored the Dance Mania inventory with Barney and Mitchell and talked to the pair about the label's history, its new-found popularity, and selling off the old records. As Mitchell told me the back stock is picked over, but we still managed to discover some beloved Dance Mania records hiding between leftover LPs from Barney's old retail music store. Check out our video below to see some of the records we found, watch Barney and Mitchell talk about the label's history, and get a glimpse of a dance nerd's Holy Grail.
I spoke with Webb yesterday about Reeling's evolution. She was enthusiastic about the future of the festival but remained realistic about the challenges it faces. "It's become really tough for independent filmmakers," she said. "A lot of the old model—launching your movie at a film festival, getting a distributor, getting a theatrical run, going to DVD—has changed. . . . In terms of LGBT films, festivals around the world have come to be seen as the main theatrical opportunity; there are fewer and fewer opportunities to get a theatrical run. That changes the nature of a festival from exposing work to supporting work.
We'd picked a rainy weekday night when the Cubs were on the road, and we were off to an auspicious beginning, with ample parking and a dearth of drunken dudes. Still, we wondered why Sweet Baby Ray's had chosen this of all neighborhoods to settle in. It may not be a shithole these days, and obviously there are tourists and ticket holders to cater to, but what happens in the winter? Will a chain draw the rest of us, particularly with independents Wrigley BBQ and the kosher Milt's Barbecue for the Perplexed nearby?
The motto here is "Smokehouse, Bourbon & Beer," which sounds promising enough. Upon entering, you're greeted by the bartender, a "Wall of Bourbon," and multiple ribbons and trophies attesting to the prowess of the team manning the restaurant's Southern Pride smoker. They might as well have added "Sports Bar" to that tag line—the front is dominated by bar stools and hightops, and there are nine TVs inside, one on the patio, and one in the men's room (never miss a moment!)
Hey, did you read:
• About "Why Food Stamp Use in Illinois Has Exploded"? —John Dunlevy
What's on Saturday? Well, gritty Chicago street-rap duo L.E.P. Bogus Boys perform at Reggie's Rock Club, and charismatic young old-school soul band JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound play a release party at Mayne Stage for their new Bloodshot album, Howl.
On Sunday you could check out the eclectic Co-Prosperity Sphere concert that Gossip Wolf mentioned, with Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening, punk bands Distract and Warrior Tribes, and live electro from Hunter & Josh. Or you could get snazzed up and attend "The (Best) Prom You Never Had" at the Empty Bottle, which features Girl Group Chicago, Bobby Conn & the Pretty Flowers, and the Chances Dances DJs. And if that sounds too wholesome for you, I recommend the Butchershop Quartet at Township, playing their notorious rock-band arrangement of Stravinksy's The Rite of Spring to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the piece's premiere. There probably won't be a riot this time, but you never know.
Actually, I take back that rude thing I said before about Thursday. That's the night of my Chicago Craft Beer Week event at the Lincoln Park Binny's with beer manager Adam Vavrick. We're going to pair beers and songs! It's going to be ridiculous, and you should come.
And now on to the Soundboard picks:
"For the past few years Mavado has been in the same predicament that’s afflicted so many other dancehall superstars: he’s practically a demigod in Jamaica, but barely anyone in the U.S. knows who he is," writes Miles Raymer in Soundboard. Catch Mavado's set at the Shrine.
LGBTQ scholar Esther Newton appears alongside her partner, performance artist Holly Hughes, at the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. "Newton trained as an anthropologist and made her name with ethnographic studies of drag queens and of Cherry Grove, the village on Fire Island that became America's first queer town," writes Aimee Levitt.
At Old Town School of Folk Music, DanceWorks Chicago presents an informal showcase featuring work by choreographers including Paige Cunningham Calderella, Joshua Blake Carter, and Brandon DiCriscio.
For more on these events and others, check out the Reader's daily Agenda page.