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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tweeting Chicago City Hall

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 05:42 PM

Alderman Munoz, back in the day
  • Alderman Munoz, back in the day
Interesting tweeting developments coming out of City Hall . . .

Alderman Rick Munoz wants to keep the city from blocking Twitter during the upcoming G-8 and NATO summits.

Apparently, you can shut down the whole tweeting thing "simply by turning off the power to the cell phone towers," Munoz told the Sun-Times.

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The mayor pitches a shutout

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 05:02 PM

On Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel reluctantly acknowledged that while crime was down overall in Chicago in January, murder was up: there were 54 percent more murders this January than last.

What should we make of this? Not much. Murder rates rise and fall, and criminologists have tried forever to figure out what causes the changes, with minimal success. Moreover, when it comes to crime trends, a year shows very little, a month almost nothing.

Which is why a crime-fighting boast by the mayor earlier this month was ludicrous.

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This is how the Internet is supposed to work

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 04:34 PM

This is not Lauren
Last week, my friend Lauren lobbied via Gchat to have her recent I Saw You posting make it into print. (The Reader culls the online I Saw You submissions each week, adding only two or three to the issue's hard copy.) Apparently, she had partnered up with someone in a CPR class and regrettably walked away without a number or even a name—and she felt like this was worth fixing. Check out our conversation after the jump:

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Take a Sip: The Obscure Beers of Germany

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 04:17 PM

There are still some openings at tonight's 7:30 PM beer tasting at the Bluebird, where beer buyer Jason Baldacci and his friend and fellow buyer Katie Reed of Bar on Buena will present samples of 13 lesser-known styles. "German beer isn't all just pilsen and hefeweizens," the PR says, then offers an impressive list, which follows after the break. It's $30, which includes snacks; reservations, at, are highly recommended.

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Film is dead in Logan Square (but not in our hearts)

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 03:46 PM

From Nelson Carvajals Cobraface
  • From Nelson Carvajal's Cobraface
On Thursday night from 6 to 8:30 PM, the gallery and social hub I Am Logan Square (located at 2644 N. Milwaukee, next to the soon-to-be-reopened Logan Theater) will kick off an exhibit by local video makers Nelson Carvajal and Amir George. Titled “Film Is Dead,” the exhibit is posed as a rallying cry for new forms of storytelling afforded by appropriated images and consumer devices like flip cameras. I recently talked with Carvajal about the exhibit, and I found his enthusiasm palpable. He tends to jump from big ideas to impressions of his immediate surroundings, speaking over his own sentences as if reediting an ongoing video stream in his mind—he should make for good company on Thursday. A partial transcript of our discussion is after the jump.

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Asado Coffee reopens Saturday

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 02:52 PM

Kevin Ashtari, Asado Coffee

When a restaurant or cafe suddenly closes for "remodeling," that's usually an easily breakable code for "it's all over for everyone but the debt collectors." That was the fear among slaves to Kevin Ashtari's marvelous coffee beans, roasted on the spot in his tiny Lakeview coffee shop Asado, when he abruptly and mysteriously shut down just before the holidays.

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The good old supernatural

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 02:26 PM

I came to work Tuesday and opened my computer to the Reader home page. Facing me on the screen was Anne Ford's as-told-to interview with Richard Kieckhefer, "historian of magic." (He's a professor of religion at Northwestern.)

"Nearly everybody in the Middle Ages believed in magic," Kieckhefer's account begins.

Next I opened my e-mail. There was a note from a colleague, and the next e-mail I read turned out to be from an author, Jerry Kubicki, pitching his new book, A Dubious Dream. He began:

"History records many people that have had super natural powers. Are they all myth? Or is there a common thread between these unique people throughout the millennium? What if an item has come to earth and has provided those that possess it powers that are both good and evil?"

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12 O'Clock Track: Howlin' Rain, "Phantom in the Valley"

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 12:00 PM

Ethan Miller's previous outfit, the very sorely missed Comets on Fire, always had blues and soul coursing through its busy, psych-heavy grooves. But probably thanks in part to guitarist Ben Chasny (also of Six Organs of Admittance) and his infinite talent for the "out there," the melody was often shrouded in Echoplex madness and messes of noise—not that there was anything wrong with that. Not at all.

Now fronting Howlin' Rain, Miller is focusing on the soul of classic rock, using psychedelia as more of a flourish. On Valentine's Day, the San Fran band releases its third full-length, The Russian Wilds, on Rick Rubin's American Recordings. The album's first single and today's 12 O'Clock Track, the seven-minute "Phantom in the Valley," wears its Springsteen and Hendrix influences with pride. The about-face jam that happens just over halfway through and rolls to the end is easily the song's best feature.

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Note to self: Don't die alone

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 10:33 AM

Predictably enough, the Reader has a Valentine's Day issue hitting the streets on February 9, five days before the Hallmark holiday. We'll attempt to foil that predictability with a heavy dose of disenchantment and copious eye-rolling. Why even bother with love—am I right?

For a taste of the impending Valentine's snark, check out the nugget of gold that the good people at Found Magazine allowed us to swipe from their archives. It's a high schooler's view of what makes the perfect girl—and, yes, it's pretty bleak. You'll find it in all its glory after the jump:

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Posted By on 01.31.12 at 10:04 AM

  • Gideon Burton
I suspect my editor has been spending too much time on Wikipedia. These are her comments on a story I recently turned in for the Reader:

—These edits in a nutshell: This was nominated as a good article but did not meet the good article criteria. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these are addressed, the article can be renominated.

—This section may be too long or excessively detailed. Please make it as concise as possible but no more concise.

—This phrase is unclear. Please disambiguate.

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