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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Now playing: Black World Cinema in Lawndale and Chatham

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 09:05 AM

The Place in Between
  • The Place in Between
Tomorrow, ICE Theaters of Chatham and Lawndale will begin a series of screenings in honor of Black History Month. With the exception of one inept and soon-to-be-forgotten film, the selections are strong, including one American classic (John Berry’s Claudine), some formidable documentaries (Thunder Soul, The Black Power Mixtape), and two recent African coproductions that deserve to be more widely known—Oliver Schmitz’s literary adaptation Life, Above All and Sarah Bouyain’s autobiographical drama The Place in Between. Both films address politically charged subject matter calmly and sensitively, and both feature impressive female ensemble casts. If you can only make one, however, I’d recommend Place in Between, which remains unavailable on DVD.

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A bedbug horror story

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 08:00 AM

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Back in 2005, I was living in an awesome two-level apartment in Roscoe Village—the setup was pretty luxurious for a 20-year-old college student. Back then, Roscoe Village was still a little grimy (and a lot more affordable)—a far cry from the puppy and stroller haven it is today. The apartment I lived in is no longer there, having been demolished several years ago to make way for a million-dollar condo.

Three of us lived on the top floor throughout the lease. I remember being told that the girl who had just moved into the first-floor bedroom discovered she might have bedbugs. I didn't even know bedbugs were real—I thought "sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" was a cute nursery rhyme. And I ignorantly believed that, being on the top floor, I was immune to bedbug bites. I was wrong.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Everything Is Ivan the Terrible!

Posted By on 01.30.12 at 01:56 PM

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Last week I saw Sergei Eisenstein’s October for the first time (as part of the Gene Siskel Film Center’s monthlong Eisenstein series) the day before I attended the premiere of the new Everything Is Terrible! project, DoggieWoggiez! PoochieWoochiez! (which I wrote about here). It was one of those glorious flukes of moviegoing, in which two unrelated works combine—by way of a few shared attributes and the virtue of proximity—to create a unified lesson in film history. In this case, I saw two films guided by ramped-up, sometimes disorienting editing and a fundamental distrust of concentrated power. Considering that academic film studies have long threatened to ossify Eisenstein past the point of recognition, it may be worthwhile to follow the path recently dug by DoggieWoggiez.

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Streetside Cafe closes. Coming soon: Scofflaw

Posted By on 01.30.12 at 01:03 PM

Danny Duberstein L.A. Kewl Shapiro
  • Dan Segar
  • Danny Duberstein "LA Kewl" Shapiro
More good news on the Logan Square cocktail front. Last night Streetside Cafe closed its doors for a major retooling under new ownership. In late December, Whistler vet Danny Shapiro, along with Kris Nagy (Simone's), Andy Gould, and Mandy Tandy (ex-Boiler Room and Bonny's), purchased the bar from Michael Noone (Francesca's, Simone's, Danny's Tavern) and company. They've been gearing up ever since.

Due to reopen in late February or early March as Scofflaw—named for the term coined in a 1923 contest held by the Boston Herald for flouters of Prohibition law—it will be a gin-focused cocktail bar, with small plates and American craft beers on tap, nothing exceeding $8. Shapiro vows that it will be "unpretentious," with different types of ice, in-house ingredients, and "no unsolicited lectures."

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12 O'Clock Track: Cate Le Bon, "Fold the Cloth"

Posted By on 01.30.12 at 12:00 PM

Cate Le Bon
  • Cate Le Bon
Cyrk (The Control Group), the recent second album by Welsh singer Cate Le Bon, is the year's first great record. I loved her debut, but this one is even better: her sophisticated singing traverses some cosmic British folk-rock terrain, but she doesn't sound remotely retro. Le Bon returns to Chicago for a show at Schubas on February 14, and I'll be writing a preview for that; in the meantime, here's a little taste. After the jump is the video for "Fold the Cloth."

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SoxFest: self-deprecation and cautious optimism

Posted By on 01.30.12 at 10:02 AM

Robin Ventura: not so far removed from his playing days.
In his session with the media before the start of SoxFest Friday at the Palmer House, new White Sox manager Robin Ventura was self-deprecating to a fault, well aware he has big shoes to fill as a media personality in replacing Ozzie Guillen.

"I was just as big a fan as anybody of his press conferences. Mine's not going to be that way, but that's just a different personality," Ventura said. "Personalitywise, for me, this is my least-favorite thing to do. Nothing personal against you," he added, disarming the reporter who asked the question. "I would rather just do baseball stuff."

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Alinsky and Gingrich—separated at mirth? Alinsky's son speaks

Posted By on 01.30.12 at 09:07 AM

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When Newt Gingrich fulminates, the name of Saul Alinsky springs easily to his lips. President Obama is, you know, a "Saul Alinsky radical." The race for president is "American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky."

Just about everybody who knows anything about Alinsky has weighed in on Gingrich's zany offensive, often with a guess-it-takes-one-to-know-one air of amused irony. For instance, here's how the Tribune's Eric Zorn began his remarks: "I suspect Saul Alinsky would nod with grudging admiration at the way GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich repeatedly injects his name into speeches and interviews."

And here's Philip Klein in the conservative Washington Examiner:

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The perils of bedbug research

Posted By on 01.30.12 at 08:00 AM

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One of the most interesting interviews I did while researching this week's story on bedbugs was with Dini Miller, an associate professor of entomology at Virginia Tech and the Urban Pest Management specialist for the state of Virginia. She's also one of the few researchers in the country who specializes in bedbugs, and she talked about the trials of keeping live colonies of bedbugs in the lab. There wasn't room in the article for most of the interview, so I thought I'd share some of it here.

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Starting today on the Bleader: Bedbugs Week

Posted By on 01.30.12 at 07:00 AM

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  • Alex Wild
Today begins a new edition of our blog feature "Variations on a Theme," in which we devote digital ink to a topic that fascinates us. This week, it's bedbugs, which ties into Julia Thiel's cover story on the subject.

And in case you missed it, here's last week's "Variations on a Theme," Alderman Week, which took inspiration from Mick Dumke's cover story on alderman Walter Burnett Jr.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

The past week on the Bleader

Posted By on 01.29.12 at 12:00 PM

Due to Mick Dumke's excellent cover story on alderman Walter Burnett Jr., we chose aldermen as our topic of discussion for this week's "Variations on a Theme," and people seemed to enjoy it. Along with Dumke's superb contribution on alderman Ed Burke, there was a massive post on the ward mess by Ben Joravsky, a few wise posts by Steve Bogira, and a personal anecdote by Kate Schmidt. Speaking of local neighborhoods, Kevin Warwick contributed a captivating interview with the founder and operator of a blog on Logan Square.

The music section had a busy week. In addition to a great series of 12 O'Clock tracks, there was also Miles Raymer's January roundup of local releases and the rising popularity of south-side rapper Chief Keef and his track, "Bang." Elsewhere, Peter Margasak spotlighted a new series by NPR on ethnic 78s and flutist Claire Chase.

Finally, Mike Sula explored everything bad—and bad but good—for us, including pickled garlic, manhattans, and doughnuts.

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