Friday, June 27, 2008

Performing arts museum Web site launched

Posted By on 06.27.08 at 03:34 PM

In response to my blog postings (and, more important, to the vigorous reaction to those postings) calling for a Chicago performing arts museum and archive, Jason Epperson of Epperson & Associates Theatrical Management and Consulting started a foundation to make it happen. Now the Chicagoland Theater and Dance Foundation has a Web site,

As reported earlier, the new foundation has scheduled a community forum for Monday, 8/4, 7 PM, at the Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport. For more information, contact Epperson at

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Right between the promises

Posted By on 06.27.08 at 12:37 PM

Steve Patterson catches Todd Stroger changing his campaign promises to match what actually happened.

Our Washington Island correspondent

Posted By on 06.27.08 at 12:12 PM

Reader contributor Martha Bayne is back on Wisconsin's bucolic Washington Island, where she'll be picking up the research she did for a story on the place a couple years back and working on a book proposal. You can read all about it on the blog at her newly launched Web site. She also offers a tip for local beer lovers: Capital Brewery's Island Wheat Ale, made with grain grown by two brother farmers on the island, is now available in Chicago. She describes it as "a pale, light-bodied wheat beer that’s less sweet than, say, Blue Moon and a less of a mouthful than a traditional hefeweizen"--in other words, a promising summer brew. She spotted it at Sahar Food & Liquor (1759 W. Division)  but it's also available at that favorite of Reader readers, Whole Foods. 

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Inside a CD factory

Posted By on 06.27.08 at 11:57 AM

That spiral track of information is very small on a CD. A traditional album side, 20 minutes long at 33 rpm, has a spiral that winds around the record about 650 times; stretched out, the groove would be about the length of a football field. A CD groove, by contrast, is about half a micron wide. (Human hair is about 40 times as thick.) It would stretch out to about three miles.

The problem with that tininess is the number of things that can go wrong on that scale. The most minuscule particle embedded on those dots, the most microscopic flaw in the disc itself, any scratches on the outside of it--all of these things can disrupt the information flow, by eliminating not just a few but thousands and thousands of "bits." Such disruptions are inevitable, and in fact appear by the dozens on any CD: the CD has to compensate. That's what the error encoding does.

It actually does two things: it gives every 16-bit word (actually it's two 8-bit words, now; to make things easier, they're split in half) something called an "error code." That's the Reed-Solomon part. And it rearranges the data into a nonsequential order--that's the Cross-Interleave.

Via Bill Wyman's blog, an old Bill Wyman piece from the Reader about how CDs are made.

6/27-6/28 -- Weekend of Williams, Britten, Bartók

Posted By on 06.27.08 at 11:44 AM

The Grant Park Orchestra and soprano Karina Gauvin give free performances of works by 20th-century European composers Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, and Béla Bartók at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph) tonight at 6:30 PM and Saturday at 7:30 PM. For more information, visit the Grant Park Music Festival's Web site here

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6/27-6/28 -- Movies in the Park

Posted By on 06.27.08 at 11:37 AM


Here's a roundup of this weekend's free screenings in the Chicago Park District's Movies in the Park series.

Friday, June 27

Grease, 8 PM, Athletic Field Park, 3546 W. Addison

E.T., 8:30 PM, Sauganash Park, 5861 N. Kostner

The Water Horse, 8:30 PM, Foster Park, 1440 W. 84th

Transformers, 8:30 PM, Moore Park, 5085 W. Adams

Saturday, June 28

Shrek the Third, 8:30 PM, Jonquil Playlot Park, 1023 W. Wrightwood

Surf's Up, 8:30 PM, Olympia Park, 6566 N. Avondale

The Wizard of Oz, 8:30 PM, Horner Park, 2741 W. Montrose

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6/27 -- Fred Camper screens Stan Brakhage films

Posted By on 06.27.08 at 11:13 AM

Reader contributor Fred Camper hosts a screening of short films by experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage tonight at the Caro d'Offay gallery (2204 W. North) in conjunction with an ongoing exhibition of Camper's photography work. The films, which are all 16mm, color, and silent, will be screened at 9:30 PM, but the exhibit will be available for viewing from 8:30. At least one film will be screened a second time, based on audience requests. Chair space is limited, so those who will require a chair should call the gallery at 773-235-7400.
Below, Mothlight (1963):

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Welcome back

Posted By on 06.27.08 at 11:01 AM

I won't say whether I think the Bulls choosing Derrick Rose #1 last night (over the gifted scorer Michael Beasley) is a good move, because I'm so biased towards smart, unselfish point guards that if I said it was the right pick you couldn't trust it. But this is the kind of thing to get me interested in basketball again. (The video below is Rose just manhandling HS basketball powerhouse Oak Hill.)

Which reminds me: one of the most profound experiences I've ever had was the time I saw Oak Hill play in person. They were also at that time the best high school team in the country, and were probably much better than the team Rose beat, with one future NBA all-star who was being talked about as the next Jordan (Jerry Stackhouse), one future NBA journeyman (Jeff McInnis), and another guy who briefly played in the NBA (the name escapes me, but he was a center at Wake Forest, I think, or maybe UNLV).

Southwest Virginia isn't really known as a hotbed of basketball action--the only NBA players to come out of Roanoke that I'm aware of are George Lynch, who had a long and decent NBA career, and J.J. Redick, the Duke star who hasn't yet turned into the John Paxson 2.0 everyone expected. The best local player I ever saw, Bobby Prince, went on to set some assist records at VMI, but never sniffed the pros. In my foggy middle-school mind I thought Prince, a scrubby little point guard, wasn't that much better than me, which meant I had to be okay (I got recruited by an AAU team, but ended up going to a high school without a basketball team).

Turns out I had no idea what being good at basketball actually meant, even though I'd been to pro and college games. Oak Hill wiped the floor with William Fleming (Lynch's old team and usually the best team in the region). I can't remember how much they beat Fleming by, but they could have beaten them by as much as they chose to. I'd never really seen anything like it, and I realized that I didn't understand the first thing about basketball.

If you ever get the chance, even if you don't like sports all that much, it's worth catching players like Rose in a high school game, because even though they're still green it's the best place to see greatness in context. In the NBA, almost everyone's actually great at basketball, so the greatness can be harder to appreciate. In high school, you can actually watch people who are among the best in the world at what they do along side fairly typical human beings. And I can't really think of another venue in almost any other pursuit where you can see how stark the difference really is between the greatness we look to and the mediocrity most of us are actually stuck in.

So I'll be watching Rose, but I'll also be looking for the next Rose, just to keep things in context. 

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6/27-7/6 -- Taste of Chicago

Posted By on 06.27.08 at 10:58 AM

Although you'll need a hefty sum to enjoy the festival's main event (the tasting), the Taste of Chicago's free admission provides access to many other goodies: concerts by Chaka Khan, Angie Stone, Stevie Wonder, Elejandro Escovedo, Bonnie Raitt, and others; a fireworks show; cooking demos (followed by a few bonus book signings); face painting, caricatures, and cake decorating at the Family Village; plus a lot more. And, with over one million visitors annually, a weekend visit can promise a fair dose of midwestern perspiration.

In Grant Park; hours are 11 AM-9 PM except 7/3-7/4, till 9:30 PM, and 7/6, till 8 PM.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

6/19-9/1 -- Kids' admission to the Museum of Science and Industry

Posted By on 06.26.08 at 06:15 PM

The Museum of Science and Industry (57th and Lake Shore Dr.) is offering free general admission for kids 11 and under through September 1. Daily live science demonstrations offer kids the chance to dissect an eyeball, learn about the digestive system, and start a rock band harnessing the "sound of science." Tickets must be obtained at the museum's ticketing hall and cannot be combined with any other offer. There's a maximum of two free tickets per adult ticket purchased. Call 773-684-1414 for more info.


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