Saturday, January 21, 2017

A thrifted Canadian tuxedo is the perfect pick for the weekend

Posted By today at 08.00 AM

Street View is a fashion series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights some of the coolest styles seen in Chicago.

ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo

Botanist Camille Rodriguez sported a thrifted denim ensemble to run her errands, proving that a casual outfit can be both comfortable and fashionable. She's also wearing a pair of Horween leather sneakers and a hemp cotton white T-shirt, true to her "little weird brother decked in your mom's turquoise" style.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

In Chicago, Obama’s legacy is visible

Posted By on 01.20.17 at 10:54 PM

A mural at Glenwood and Lunt in Rogers Park commemorates the kick off of Obama's U.S. Senate campaign at the adjacent Heartland Cafe. - DANIELLE A. SCRUGGS
  • Danielle A. Scruggs
  • A mural at Glenwood and Lunt in Rogers Park commemorates the kick off of Obama's U.S. Senate campaign at the adjacent Heartland Cafe.

As the world watched Donald Trump take the oath as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, I traveled across the city where the 44th, Barack Obama, left his mark—literally and figuratively. Photos, murals, and other images of Barack, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha linger in storefronts in Hyde Park and pop up on buildings and viaducts in Bronzeville, Garfield Park, and Rogers Park.

For me, Obama's legacy is complicated and not flawless. But I also understand the gravity and thrill of being able to recognize myself and my own relatives in the family that, for the past eight years, occupied the nation's highest seat of power. What for so long seemed impossible became reality—and almost, but never quite, mundane. 

While the Trump administration seems intent on quickly reversing much of the progress of the Obama years, one thing is clear: in Chicago, at least, America's first black president endures.

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Inauguration bar-hopping in Chicago’s most pro-Trump neighborhood

Posted By on 01.20.17 at 10:41 PM

Regulars at Blackthorn Pub in Mount Greenwood - MAYA DUKMASOVA
  • Maya Dukmasova
  • Regulars at Blackthorn Pub in Mount Greenwood

The 2016 presidential election confirmed what most of us already knew: Chicago is a blue city in a red nation. But even within this blue island there are some red oases, chief among them Mount Greenwood in the 19th ward on the city's far southwest side.

Days before the election, the neighborhood drew attention after a white off-duty police officer shot and killed 25-year-old Joshua Beal, a black man from Indianapolis, who was reported to have been waving a gun. In the wake of the shooting, Black Lives Matter staged protests in the heart of the neighborhood at 111th and Kedzie, and were met by furious locals—most of them white—who brandished pro-police signs and flags and hurled racist slurs.

On November 8, nearly 70 percent of the 19th Ward's 54th precinct—bordered by 111th Street on the south, 109th on the north, Kedzie Avenue on the east and Drake Avenue on the west—voted for Trump. It was the city's most pro-Trump precinct. In the precincts around it, at least half of the votes cast were for Trump.

And so it was fitting to spend inauguration day in this corner of Chicago's Trumplandia.

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That black cloud hanging over Trump’s inauguration? Not just rain.

Posted By on 01.20.17 at 06:00 PM

Trump triumphant on the steps of the Capitol - GETTY
  • Getty
  • Trump triumphant on the steps of the Capitol

On the morning of inauguration day, I awoke to a cold, gloomy, lightly falling rain, and an alarming New York Times story concerning the man who would, in a matter of hours, become the 45th president of the United States.

The investigation of Russia's role in Donald Trump's election victory, it appears, is just heating up:

"American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of [Trump], including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said."

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Trump Tower security booted a journalist from the building on inauguration day

Posted By on 01.20.17 at 05:16 PM

Chicago police began to fence off Trump Tower hours before a planned protest on inauguration day. - RYAN SMITH
  • Ryan Smith
  • Chicago police began to fence off Trump Tower hours before a planned protest on inauguration day.

In the afterglow of Donald Trump's inauguration at Rebar, the second-floor cocktail lounge inside the Trump International Hotel and Tower, a sturdy white-haired man in a dark suit made a sudden beeline to the table where I was sitting, staring into my iPhone. It was clear, from the the coiled wire running from his ear into his shirt collar and his businesslike manner, that he was the bar's bouncer.

"You're with the Chicago Reader, right?"

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Getting under Trump’s skin, verse by satirical verse

Posted By on 01.20.17 at 04:07 PM

The Cat in the Hair Hat takes the oath of office. - GETTY
  • Getty
  • The Cat in the Hair Hat takes the oath of office.

When Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich won a Pulitzer in 2012, I commented on the eclecticism of the columns that she entered. For instance, "There's a poem written as a tribute to Richie Daley when he left office. (She writes two or three poems a year. She's got a knack.)"

Writing in rhyme is something Schmich says comes easier than prose, and lately she's been doing it a lot more than two or three times a year. "It's almost like writing anonymously," she says. "There's a freedom to it. It's like putting on a costume. Like writing in any kind of form, it forces the mind into slightly different places. I call this doggerel by the way. It's doggerel. I cringe when somebody refers to it as poetry. I have no pretensions of being a poet."

Doggerel? There's no dog in what she's writing about Donald Trump. We'll just call it verse.

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Artists Against Hate, B-Fest, and more things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 01.20.17 at 12:45 PM

Plan 9 From Outer Space screens at midnight at this year's B-Fest.
  • Plan 9 From Outer Space screens at midnight at this year's B-Fest.


There's plenty to do this weekend—for you and your newly-crafted pussy hat. Here's some of what we recommend:


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Chicago producer Nasim Williams on his new track with Cam’ron and the mentor who made him a musician

Posted By on 01.20.17 at 11:21 AM

Nasim Williams - GABRIEL CANON
  • Gabriel Canon
  • Nasim Williams

In fall 2015, Chicago DJ and producer Nasim Williams (or "Na$im," as he prefers it) played at what turned out out to be the final CMJ Music Marathon, putting an explanation point on his return to music. His work teaching and coaching—and the birth of his twin daughters earlier that year—had made it more difficult for him to find time to make beats. To make matters worse, his laptop had died a few months before, and he'd stopped DJing. Williams says having kids helped motivate him to work on his music, though, and he had help from Randy Ojeda of Tampa talent agency Cigar City Management—he helped Williams book the CMJ gig, a late-night slot sandwiched between Chicago rappers Martin Sky and Roy French at East Village venue Drom. And in August 2016, Ojeda arranged a distribution deal for Williams with independent publishing company Kobalt Music Group.

Williams's resumé as a producer includes work with Chicago rappers such as GLC, Vic Spencer, and Mano (he's a member of Treated Crew, which Mano cofounded), and last month the 25-year-old released a collection of solo instrumentals called Sometimes God Has a Kid's Face. Williams has also made connections outside the city, including with rising Harlem rapper L's. Williams and the MC's go-to producer, Ly-key on the Beat, recently made a track together that features no less a star than Cam'ron contributing a guest verse—and because L's recruited Cam so late in the production, Williams didn't even find out till after the fact. The finished song, "Want It All," drops today, which gave me an excuse to talk with Williams—I called him up to discuss the new song, his coming of age in music, and his role in the local scene.

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No Obama commutation for former governor Rod Blagojevich, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 01.20.17 at 06:00 AM

In a file photo from March 2012, former governor Rod Blagojevich speaks to the media the day before reporting to federal prison, flanked by his wife, Patti. - AP PHOTO/M. SPENCER GREEN
  • AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
  • In a file photo from March 2012, former governor Rod Blagojevich speaks to the media the day before reporting to federal prison, flanked by his wife, Patti.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, January 20, 2016.

  • President Obama snubs Rod Blagojevich's commutation request

President Barack Obama chose not to shorten former governor Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence during his final days in office. Blagojevich, who was convicted of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat, had petitioned the president in December, but although Obama ended up commuting more prison sentences than any other president in history, he snubbed his former colleague. President-elect Donald Trump might be more sympathetic to Blago in the future—the latter appeared on Trump's Celebrity Apprentice show in 2010. "So, Governor, you have a hell of a lot of guts. I have to tell you that," Trump told Blagojevich during his first Apprentice episode. [Associated Press via St. Louis Post-Dispatch] [NBC Chicago]

  • Chicago police officer charged with first-degree murder in death of unarmed man

Chicago police officer Lowell Houser has been charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of 38-year-old Jose Nieves. Houser, who was off-duty at the time, allegedly shot Nieves on January 2 on the northwest side. Nieves and Houser had argued in the past, and according to authorities, the victim was not armed at the time. [Tribune]

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Crafty preparations for the women's march

Posted By and on 01.19.17 at 10:57 PM

Sophie Canadé helps Shay Johnson knit a pussyhat - AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt
  • Sophie Canadé helps Shay Johnson knit a pussyhat

Tomorrow, the women (and male allies) of America march on Washington and more than 200 other cities, including here in Chicago, where nearly 50,000 people are expected to rally in Grant Park and then walk en masse to Federal Plaza. But even before the marches, people are gathering to prepare, to make hats and buttons and signs, and to talk about their reasons for marching. There are few things more threatening to the patriarchy—or more overlooked—than a women's crafting circle.

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