Sunday, July 31, 2011

Last chance to see Ada/Ava tonight

Posted By on 07.31.11 at 11:38 AM

Twin sisters Ada and Ava have grown old together playing chess, having tea, riding their two-seater bicycle, and using the rock-paper-scissors method to decide which of them will tend the beam at the top of the lighthouse tower adjoining their snug home. Ava's death sends Ada into a tailspin. We watch her quiet but frantic negotiations with loneliness, sanity, and death in Ada/Ava, a shadow-puppet play by Manual Cinema. The piece mixes extraordinary technical sophistication—a rich quadraphonic sound design, cinematic transitions—with assertively naive children's-gothic-style storytelling. The combination can get clunky at times, but the overall effect is gentle, lovely, fascinating.

Ada/Ava can be seen one last time tonight at the Charnel House, 3421 W. Fullerton. The evening starts at 8 PM, with performances by That Sordid Little Story (a musical subset of the New Colony theater company) and puppeteer Mike Oleon.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chicago police chief says no to decriminalizing pot possession

Posted By on 07.30.11 at 02:38 PM

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If Chicago’s top cop has his way, marijuana possession is not going to be decriminalized anytime soon around here.

Despite calls for a major change in policy, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Saturday that cops aren't going to stop busting people they catch with small amounts of pot, though he said the department is studying whether it might process arrests differently—perhaps by issuing tickets rather than taking people to the station and locking them up.

“We will continue to make arrests for illegal behavior, whether it’s public urination or whether it’s carrying a firearm,” McCarthy said after participating in an anti-violence march in the Austin neighborhood with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and area residents. McCarthy said he and the mayor had spoken about the issue and were in agreement.

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The Abbey Pub's facelift makes its TV debut

Posted By on 07.30.11 at 10:00 AM

The drum-set chandelier in the Abbeys Green Room
  • The drum-set chandelier in the Abbey's Green Room
Last month, Kevin Warwick wrote about seeing a not-so-well-attended Unsane show at the newly renovated Abby Pub. The Abbey was spruced up this past May by Spike TV's reality series Bar Rescue, hosted by consultant Jon Taffer.

The remodel is complete down to the name—the pub section of the venue is now called the Green Room. It has wall-mounted guitars, a flashy drum-set chandelier, cheetah-print tabletops, and a new outdoor lounge. Food and drink menus have also gone through a revamp.

To check out the facelift firsthand as well as watch the premiere of the Abbey's episode of the show, stop by the bar Sun 7/31 at 8 PM. The night will begin with a menu sampling, followed by the broadcast at 9 PM. Live music gets going after the premiere.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

How does it feel

Posted By on 07.29.11 at 04:37 PM

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One topic in my mental pile of rejects for our weekly How To feature is this: how to endlessly amuse yourself by seeing how Google automatically fills out your search phrases—sure bets include "what does it feel like to," for instance, and similarly open-ended queries. (A friend once tried to use this mechanism to remember the key word in the phrase "Opinions are like . . .," a query for which four current suggestions are testicles, kittens, belly buttons, and rap careers. At least two of those make sense.) This one's a reject, of course, because everybody knows about it, and also because the process is pretty much self-explanatory. Still, considered as a reflection of what—some other people?—are thinking about, it's entertaining and occasionally illuminating, as Nishant Batsha points out today in an essay on "existential Googling."

There's a lot of Internet out there, writes Batsha. And people search for some pretty heady shit! "It should come as no surprise then that, with this amount of data sitting on our desktops, nestled away in our pockets, we channel our existential angst through the search box, believing that somewhere in that tangle of information must be stored some crucial piece of advice." Well . . . maybe. Still, it's an interesting read.

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Polka will never die, and on Saturday the Polkaholics prove it again

Posted By on 07.29.11 at 03:29 PM

The Polkaholics
  • The Polkaholics
"Polka will never die." That's how terrified little coroner Waldo Butters keeps his courage up while tagging along with wizard-detective Harry Dresden, who's lumbering through Chicago on the back of a zombified Sue the T. Rex in a memorable scene from Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series. Butters is playing his one-man-band polka suit at the time, because the giant zombie needs rhythm to keep it animated and moving. That's probably also the chant that's kept Don Hedeker so very animated and moving all these years; the guitarist, songwriter, and superfan has gone through some dark times, but the energy of his punkified Polkaholics seems to provide him irresistible momentum.

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Soulja Boy got a jet and he might be a genius

Posted By on 07.29.11 at 03:27 PM

The Gulfstream G5 in flight
  • The Gulfstream G5 in flight
Soulja Boy's all over the news today for buying himself a $55 million Gulfstream G5 jet for his 21st birthday. Well the jet itself only cost $35 mil, according to "a member of Soulja's management team," with the remainder going towards customizing its interior, including what TMZ sort of strangely emphasizes is "a giant, LUXURIOUS bathroom." He's also throwing himself a $300,000 party in Miami because what, he's not going to throw himself a $300,000 party for his 21st birthday? Get serious.

My internal class warrior of course seethes at the news (and has in fact long been tempted to hack into his bank accounts and give all of his money away to charity) but it fits in with how insane Soulja Boy's career has been. It also gives me a reason to post the video (after the jump) for the special birthday boy's song "Louis Vuitton" which may well be the best rap song in the world right now, and which puts me in the unexpected position of thinking that Soulja Boy might be a complete genius after all.

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A modest bike lane proposal

Posted By on 07.29.11 at 02:31 PM

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  • vxla via Flickr
Steven Vance notes today on Grid Chicago that of the 100 miles of protected bike lanes Mayor Emanuel has promised to install in Chicago, he only has 99.5 to go (half a mile of Kinzie, between Desplaines and LaSalle, was recently outfitted with a protected lane—the first in the city). But Vance is also worried about the open-metal-grate bridges, which can be dangerous for cyclists, especially when wet or icy. Pointing out that adding metal plates to the Kinzie bridge ran about $30,000 plus installation costs, and the half mile of protected bike lane cost $140,000, Vance proposes that instead of installing 25 miles of protected bike lanes the city should add metal plates to 25 open-grate bridges. We'd end up with 75 miles of protected lanes, 25 more treated bridge surfaces, and it should cost less overall. He also notes that this isn't likely to happen without some prodding from cyclists—the solution, of course, being to contact your alderman.

In other news, the city of Chicago is celebrating the installation of its first on-street bike parking corral today at 5 PM outside the Flatiron Building (Milwaukee just south of North avenue). It'll provide parking for about 12 bicycles in a space that would otherwise be occupied by one or two cars.

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Main events for Fashion Focus 2011 announced

Posted By on 07.29.11 at 01:33 PM

Today the city announced the dates for the Millennium Park fashion shows happening as part of the seventh annual Fashion Focus Chicago. As it did last year, Macy's kicks things off with runway event on Tuesday, October 18, featuring the 2011 designers-in-residence of the Chicago Fashion Incubator as well as selected alumni. Other shows include the culmination of Mario Tricoci's "Mario, Make Me a Model" contest, featuring clothing by local designers, on Wednesday, October 19th; Vert Couture, which focuses on eco-fashion, on Thursday, October 20; and The Art of Fashion on Friday, October 21. Missing this year is what had become one of the more popular shows, the one devoted to the work of student designers from area institutions—the schools are increasingly opting to do those on their own. Looks like smaller events such as trunk shows and seminars won't be announced until later in August.

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How A.J. could solve the Big Breeze problem

Posted By on 07.29.11 at 12:25 PM

The White Sox have the hitter who's the easiest to strike out in the American League, and the hitter who's the hardest. You know about the first member of this odd couple. In 300 official at bats this season, Adam Dunn has now whiffed 130 times. In 324 at bats, A.J. Pierzynski has whiffed 20.

This is a phenomenal gap. A.J. could strike out his next 110 trips to the plate and still be way behind the Big Breeze, who by then would have piled on a fresh batch of 30 Ks or so, since he's not one to rest on his laurels. Dunn probably has more categories of strikeouts than A.J. has strikeouts: swinging and missing, foul-tipping, caught looking, caught yawning, caught belching....

For A.J., striking out is one of those events, like getting caught in the rain, that happens periodically no matter how you try to avoid it. For Dunn, striking out is just something you do three or four times a day, like eating a meal.

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More on Boys Town crime

Posted By on 07.29.11 at 12:15 PM

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  • ryPix
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the brouhaha in Boys Town—where one man's crime wave is another's racial panic. I noted that reported crime, according to the Chicago Police Department, is down from what it was a decade ago. In this week's Windy City Times, Erica Demarest looks more closely at CPD numbers, which the department tracks in eight major categories like murder, assault and battery, theft, and arson. Highlights are after the jump.

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