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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two Ways of Looking at One Story

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 09:23 PM

The CHA is trying to move the remaining residents of Cabrini-Green out of the housing project. Here's how the Tribune presents the dilemma. Here's how the Chicago Reporter presents it. One presents the CHA's reasoning, and one presents the residents' reasoning—and they have the same reasons for being on different sides.

It Gets Better

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 06:44 PM

Civil unions bill passes the House, is expected to pass in the Senate.

Update: Oh win: State Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Decatur), the first to stand in opposition, suggests that the Greek and Roman civilizations fell because of "open homosexuality." Honestly.

His Visigoth-anti-immigration bill remains stalled in committee.

Paypa's Label Bosses Arrested on Drug Charges

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 06:21 PM

Back in July I put together a local release roundup that included a mix tape from the rapper Paypa. (Not to be confused with the Paypa from Project Mayhem, though to be honest the situation is pretty confusing.) Though Tunnel Vision was the first many people had heard of that particular Paypa, it was way slicker and more expensive sounding than your average release from an out-of-nowhere Chicago MC. This set me to wondering.

"He's got better management support than any up-and-coming Chicago rapper in I don't know how long," I wrote, "so much that he can slap the names of mix-tape dons DJ Drama and DJ Khaled on the cover, scare up high-gloss beats aimed straight at the bottle-service section, and land exclusive verses by the likes of Rick Ross, the Game, and Jim Jones, all of whom name-check Paypa in their raps (which you know has to cost extra)."

In mid-November USA Today reported that the two CEOs of Behind da Scenes Entertainment, whose main artist is Paypa, were arrested as part of a federal investigation into an alleged cocaine-smuggling ring that used private jets to deliver the drug. Among the 12 other people indicted is a guy with his own clothing line who DJed at Eddie Murphy's wedding in Bora Bora.

(via Fake Shore Drive)

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Housing Prices: Still a Problem

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 06:08 PM

This week Ben Joravsky recounted his most recent adventures with his property tax bill, in which he notes that his assessment went up while housing prices in Chicago haven't. The Case/Schiller housing price index was released today, and it's worse than that: Chicago had the worst year-over-year decline of the 20 metropolitan areas they track.

What happened? There were a lot of foreclosures, which means there are a lot of cheap existing houses on the market, and as Calculated Risk points out, it caused a massive break in the historical relationship between new and existing home sales. With some help from Uncle Sam, existing home sales have sort of rebounded; new home sales continue to plunge. There's still a lot of inventory, which will depress housing prices for awhile—but probably not, as Joravsky points out, property taxes.

More TIF Magic!

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 03:42 PM

Jim Warren laments how dumb you are:

Any rational soul would assume it’s metaphysically certain that the Cubs will win a World Series or [redacted pop culture reference] before an American election campaign deals with tax increment financing.

After all, our financial literacy is awful, and it’s difficult to understand tax increment financing — which provides a way to use the rise in tax revenues from property value growth within a designated area suffering from “blight,” a so-called TIF district, to finance development within that area.

And schools you!

While Mr. Orr contends it’s a “travesty” that most Chicagoans are clueless about all that money, one can’t dispute that TIFs are central to development, especially downtown. And it’s hard to dispute how they allow municipalities to support development without raising property taxes.

It's hard to dispute if you take the Daley administration's line on TIFs and property taxes. If you don't, it's less hard, though it does require a little bit of math. Here's Ben Joravsky, writing in 2007 (emphasis mine):

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12/1—Free Soul Music Event and Listening Party at Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 03:18 PM


Tomorrow from 8 PM till 2 AM, Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar (960 W. 31st) hosts Global Soul...World Beats & Treats—a five-week series of sets by local global soul DJs. Tomorrow's event includes a listening party for Now Again Records's new Rikki Ililonga and Musi-O-Tunya anthology, and sets by former Sonotheque co-owner and music director DJ Joe Bryl and Tony Sarabia, host of the WBEZ program "Radio M." Cocktail and beer specials are available all night. (Next week's event features the Reader's Peter Margasak.)

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Greg Ward's New York Sound

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 02:13 PM

Greg Ward
  • Greg Ward
In a preview I wrote back in September for a live gig by alto saxophonist Greg Ward and his group Fitted Shards, I praised his skill as a reedist and improviser but criticized the quartet's debut album, South Side Stories (19/8), as too fussy and fusiony. The Chicago native moved to New York more than a year ago, but he's maintained a regular presence here—Fitted Shards is a Chicago-based group, with bassist Jeff Greene, drummer Quin Kirchner, and keyboardist Rob Clearfield, and a few weeks ago Ward gave an excellent performance with Mike Reed's Loose Assembly at Pritzker Pavilion. Of course he's also been forming new partnerships out east, and yesterday the Newark all-jazz radio station WBGO posted a new interview and session recorded for the Checkout, a program hosted by DJ Josh Jackson, that offers a glimpse of what Ward is putting down in his new home.

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Knitted Shawls by Anke Loh

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 01:54 PM

This weekend artist and designer Nick Cave's pop-up Soundsuit Shop will feature Chicago designer Anke Loh's hand-knitted shawls from her fall 2010 collection. As she's done in previous collections, Loh has incorporated images taken of optical fiber dresses (created as part of a previous project) into the fabric, but this time the knitted texture adds a new dimension to the concept, resulting in one-of-a-kind pieces that combine abstraction with tactility.

The shawls will be on sale at the shop, which is located at 110 E. 23rd, from noon to 5 PM this Saturday and Sunday. Correction: the shawls, which run from $200 to $300, are available directly from Loh. Contact her directly at

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Taking a Detour From Revision Street

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 01:35 PM

Anne Elizabeth Moore is putting Revision Street on hiatus, which is a damn shame:

Yet the most important thing about Revision Street: America is that it wasn’t exclusively about me. I was offered space in a public media environment I didn’t want to fill with pithy observations or suggestions for consumables. I wanted to talk about—through the voices of my fellow citizens—where this city is, in this country, in the world, and in this moment.


Anyway, the purpose of Revision Street: America was to fit the round hole of contemporary media as only a square peg couldn’t. The US, and therefore most global media, have largely abandoned the long-form oral history mode of information-gathering and news-sharing because it doesn’t soundbite. The presumed desirability of the well-polished, easy-to-digest media tidbit has contributed to a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach in recent years: I fear that media has become so disembodied it no longer can reflect the interests, desires, and concerns of people anymore. (Certainly, the continuing struggles of media reform movements indicate more than corporate media’s growing predominance; they may also point to a disinterest in media itself. Which did come up, in interviews with Celi Gonzalez, Abby Smith, and Tom Shepherd.)

This is a knotty problem, but I don't entirely blame corporate media, with emphasis on blame.

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Through 12/21—Free Massage or Chiropractic Exam With Donations

Posted By on 11.30.10 at 12:27 PM


Through Tue 12/21, Atlas Chiropractic (3178 N. Broadway) is offering free, 30-minute massages in exchange for a donation of either ten cans of food, five personal hygiene items, or five baby care items. And if you bring in a new or slightly used winter coat, you can get a free chiropractic exam with x-rays. All donations go to either the Lakeview Pantry or the Broadway Youth Center. To make an appointment (it's required), call 773-549-6400.

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