Monday, February 27, 2017

The One-Minute Festival offers a takedown of the entire Trump administration in just 60 seconds

Posted By on 02.27.17 at 05:01 PM

The Chicago leg of the festival takes place Tuesday and Wednesday, February 21 and 22, at the Den Theatre. - COURTESY ONE-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL
  • Courtesy One-Minute Play Festival
  • The Chicago leg of the festival takes place Tuesday and Wednesday, February 21 and 22, at the Den Theatre.

In the wake of a tumultuous presidential election, this year's One-Minute Play Festival at the Den Theatre puts politics at center stage. In its seventh year, the festival—this edition is titled "America Is . . . "—features dozens of minute-long performances that comment on the state of both the country and the city of Chicago under the Trump administration.

The One-Minute Play Festival travels all across the United States and makes an effort to include and highlight diverse perspectives. Last year's fest featured an entirely female-identifying cast, and the show aims to showcase artists of various ages, races, and cultures. The Chicago leg of the tour, curated by Dominic D'Andrea and Caitlin Wees, takes this mission to heart, presenting more than 60 local playwrights and directors who occupy different identities.

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A tiny takeout joint in a Wilmette strip mall serves some of the most lovingly made Pakistani food in the Chicago area

Posted By on 02.27.17 at 04:26 PM

Takeaway thali from Thali Bites in Wilmette - MIKE SULA
  • Mike Sula
  • Takeaway thali from Thali Bites in Wilmette

If I told you a take-out joint in a Wilmette strip mall served the most exciting Pakistani food north of Granville, would you take the Brown Line, transfer to the Purple Line, ride that to Central, then wait a half hour for the 201 to shove off to Old Orchard Mall before plodding about a third of a mile up Skokie Boulevard for some freshly curdled palak paneer and bhindi that tastes like green fireworks?

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Mardi Gras shrimp boil, Wayne's World live reading, and more things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 02.27.17 at 03:13 PM

Wayne and Garth come to life during a live reading of Wayne's World on Mon 2/27. Excellent!
  • Wayne and Garth come to life during a live reading of Wayne's World on Mon 2/27. Excellent!
There's plenty to do in Chicago this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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‘Gary from Chicago’ was the ‘biggest star inside the 2017 Oscars,’ and other news

Posted By on 02.27.17 at 10:22 AM

Mahershala Ali, right, hands his award for best supporting actor to a tourist named Gary during the Oscars Sunday night. - PHOTO BY CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP
  • Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
  • Mahershala Ali, right, hands his award for best supporting actor to a tourist named Gary during the Oscars Sunday night.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, February 27, 2017.

  • "Gary from Chicago" was the "biggest star inside the 2017 Oscars"

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel invited a group of tourists from a Hollywood tour bus to the Dolby Theatre for the Oscars, and one of them, who identified himself as "Gary from Chicago," went viral. E! News declared him the "biggest star inside the 2017 Oscars." Gary was a natural at Hollywood's most prestigious awards show, charming celebrities, taking selfies, and kissing Nicole Kidman's hand. Capitalizing on the viral moment, the Chicago Bulls and Bears immediately reached out to him on social media with offers of gifts. [New York Daily News] [E! News]

  • CPD top cop Johnson is frustrated with Springfield for failing to stiffen punishments for repeat gun offenders

Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson is frustrated with lawmakers in Springfield for failing to pass harsher penalties for repeat gun offenders, according to the Sun-Times. "They promised me that we would have something done in January. We're at the end of February," he said at a news conference Friday. He's now counting on state senator Kwame Raoul and state rep Elgie Sims Jr., who are currently drafting a bill. He noted that both Raoul and Sims are "supportive of CPD." [Sun-Times]

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Rhiannon Giddens, Ron Trent, D.C. blues, and blockchain: music stories from around the Web

Posted By on 02.27.17 at 07:00 AM

Rhiannon Giddens at the 2016 Freedom for All Gala - NICHOLAS HUNT
  • Nicholas Hunt
  • Rhiannon Giddens at the 2016 Freedom for All Gala

Rhiannon Giddens challenges the perceived whiteness of American folk music

You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise these days, but folk music isn't actually just about bearded white dudes who, say, hole themselves up in cabins for months to get in their feels (not to name any names). Black folk artist Rhiannon Giddens, founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, is pushing back against that stereotype on her new solo album, and she has plenty of underrecognized folk history to back her up. [TrackRecord]

Ron Trent gives a history lesson in deep house, hot on the heels of a new retrospective
compilation
Chicago deep-house pioneer Ron Trent just released a Prescription Records compilation with Chez Damier, who founded the label with him in 1993—and in this interview, he tells tales from the world of late-80s Chicago dance music that brought him to his defining take on the deep-house sound. [NPR]

A new documentary explores D.C.'s little-known Anacostia Delta blues style
Washington, D.C., is nowhere near the Mississippi Delta that helped birth the blues or the Chicago bars where it went electric, but the city is home to its own lesser-known subgenre—the Anacostia Delta blues style, to be exact. A new documentary, directed by Bryan Reichhardt (Barnstorming, Pictures From a Hiroshima Schoolyard), is introducing this music to a wider audience. [The Washington Post]

Red Bull Music Academy covers health goth, kawaii, gqom, and grime in the second season of its Hashtags documentary series
Red Bull Music Academy continues to show love for the niche cultural movements that have thrived on the Web with the second season of its Hashtags series—this time its subjects are grime, gqom (a South African genre derived from house music), and the relatively fashion-oriented trends of health goth and kawaii. [Red Bull Music Academy]

The blockchain tech behind Bitcoin is making its way into the music industry
What are blockchains, and why are they supposedly changing everything? Fact answers the first question pretty succinctly: "a blockchain allows people to connect and transact on a 'peer to peer' basis, as opposed to through a third party like a bank." Cool—sounds like the money guys have finally figured out how torrenting works. As for the "changing everything" part, well, that's a little more complicated—but there's some hope that this technology will make it easier to ensure that musicians get paid when their work is streamed. [Fact]

Chicago rap veterans the Cool Kids are back and ready to make good on their legacy
Back when Twitter wasn't yet a thing and MySpace had cred—from roughly 2007 till 2009—Chicago's Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks, aka the Cool Kids, were one of the biggest names in the local rap game. Now, six years after they disbanded, they're returning to a different scene and a different Internet. But they're hungry to reclaim what's theirs. [MTV News]

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Friday, February 24, 2017

As Trump kicks out reporters, the Washington Post declares war on 'darkness'

Posted By on 02.24.17 at 04:23 PM

New York Times reporter Glen Thrush works in the White House briefing room after being excluded from an off-camera press gaggle by White House press secretary Sean Spicer Friday. The Los Angeles Times, CNN, and Politico were also excluded. - MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES
  • Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • New York Times reporter Glen Thrush works in the White House briefing room after being excluded from an off-camera press gaggle by White House press secretary Sean Spicer Friday. The Los Angeles Times, CNN, and Politico were also excluded.
Here's what President Trump can do: He can schedule a news briefing and not let certain reporters attend, thereby designating them, in the eyes of his faithful, as enemies of truth and freedom.

That's what Trump did Friday. The New York Times, CNN, and Politico were turned away at the office door of press secretary Sean Spicer. In solidarity, reporters from Time and the AP did what they could do—boycotted the briefing.

Trump has been badmouthing journalists for so long it was only a matter of time before he upped the ante. Earlier in the day he'd called CNN the "Clinton News Network" in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference and called "dishonest" journalists the "enemy of the people."

"They are very smart," Trump said. "They are very cunning, they are very dishonest."

And not without resources of their own.

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Taylor Ho Bynum salutes his mentors on a rich, sprawling new big-band album

Posted By on 02.24.17 at 02:00 PM


Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum is tightly connected to the legacy and sound of visionary composer and reedist Anthony Braxton—he studied under Braxton, has played under his leadership for decades, and serves as executive director of the Tri-Centric Arts Foundation, which administers Braxton's prolific output. In his own music, though, Bynum has usually mapped his own path. He's had a fruitful partnership with drummer Tomas Fujiwara, and he's led an evolving number of medium-to-large ensembles, privileging strings in some and brass in others—such as the band on his most recent album, Enter the Plustet (Firehouse 12).

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Mayor Rahm and Alderman Lopez cut a deal on the property tax rebate

Posted By on 02.24.17 at 01:34 PM

Alderman Raymond Lopez, right, with West Englewood resident Yolanda Scott and her seven-year-old daughter in front of Henderson Elementary School, where 12-year-old Kanari Gentry-Bowers was shot February 12 - JAMES FOSTER/ FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA
  • James Foster/ For Sun-Times Media
  • Alderman Raymond Lopez, right, with West Englewood resident Yolanda Scott and her seven-year-old daughter in front of Henderson Elementary School, where 12-year-old Kanari Gentry-Bowers was shot February 12

With shootings on the rise—seven people were shot on Wednesday alone—the City Council convened this week to spend about $16 million to do something something about it.

They had a choice: They could bow to Mayor Rahm's command and spend the money on a plethora of programs that, though well meaning, have no direct impact on the shootings. Or they could stand up to Rahm and spend at least part of the money on a program that did.

Guess what happened?

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A Field Museum-themed pop-up bar, an Oscars viewing party, and more things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 02.24.17 at 01:15 PM

The Field Museum's "Specimens" are on display at the Chicago Athletic Association's pop-up bar the Backroom. - COURTESY THE FIELD MUSEUM
  • courtesy the field museum
  • The Field Museum's "Specimens" are on display at the Chicago Athletic Association's pop-up bar the Backroom.

Winter has returned, but luckily there's plenty to do indoors in the city this weekend. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Transgender CPS students will still be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.24.17 at 06:00 AM

Madeline Bruni, an 18-year-old transgender woman, speaks out against President Donald Trump's rollback of protections for transgender students. - BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
  • BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images
  • Madeline Bruni, an 18-year-old transgender woman, speaks out against President Donald Trump's rollback of protections for transgender students.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, February 24, 2017. Have a great weekend! 

  • Chicago Public Schools will continue to let transgender students use bathrooms, locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity

Transgender Chicago Public Schools students will still be able to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice despite actions taken by President Donald Trump to revoke former president Barack Obama's issued guidelines allowing all transgender public school students to use the facilities of their choice. CPS changed its policy prior to Obama's policy change, and won't amend it now. "CPS led the way among school districts on bathroom policies for transgender students and staff, and we have no intention of backing down no matter what President Trump does to discriminate against the LGBTQ community," CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner told DNAinfo Chicago. [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Seven people killed in gun violence Wednesday as shootings in 2017 already outpace 2016

Chicago saw its 99th homicide in 2017 Wednesday, two days before its 99th homicide in 2016, according to the Tribune. Homicides had been slowing down slightly in comparison with 2016 until seven people were fatally shot Wednesday. [Tribune]

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
The Book of Joseph Chicago Shakespeare Theater
February 02
Music
Lyric Opera's Carmen Civic Opera House
February 11

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