Bleader | Chicago Reader

Friday, October 30, 2015

Alderman Joravsky considers voting for Mayor Rahm's budget

Posted By on 10.30.15 at 06:00 AM

How would I have voted on the mayor's budget? - (ASHLEE REZIN/SUN-TIMES)
  • (Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times)
  • How would I have voted on the mayor's budget?

On Wednesday, as the city council performed its annual ritual of approving the mayor's budget, I was wondering how I'd vote, if I were an alderman.

I know that's an insanely absurd notion because I'd probably never survive a ballot challenge by one of the mayor's lawyers, much less beat one of his acolytes.

But, still, indulge me for the moment...

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ira Glass on awkwardness, being bad with titles, and his touring show Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host

Posted By on 10.29.15 at 02:00 PM

Ira Glass returns to Chicago this weekend—as a professional dancer. - EBRU YILDIZ
  • Ebru Yildiz
  • Ira Glass returns to Chicago this weekend—as a professional dancer.

Ira Glass has landed in Chicago. The host of This American Life has just disembarked and he's on the move. He asks if he can call me back once he finds a cab. A few minutes later, we're chatting about a range of things, starting with Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, his touring show with dancers Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, which makes its Chicago debut at the Athenaeum Theatre tomorrow.

Glass's ties to Chicago run deep. He spent a year at Northwestern before transferring to Brown, then in 1989 moved back to be with his girlfriend at the time, the cartoonist-novelist Lynda Barry, and started producing award-winning reports for NPR. But he's of course best known for his show This American Life, which he began producing at WBEZ in 1995. He stayed for a decade before marrying (his wife, Anaheed Alani, was an editor at the Reader) and relocating to New York in 2006.

Chicago remains his "hometown crowd," Glass says, and now his townies are on the verge of seeing something they haven't witnessed before—Ira Glass, professional dancer.

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Remembering God Is My Co-Pilot: 'We're here / We're queer / We're gonna fuck your children!'

Posted By on 10.29.15 at 12:00 PM

The back cover of God Is My Co-Pilot's first release, the 1991 seven-inch Songs of Praise - PHOTO BY EVE PRIME
  • Photo by Eve Prime
  • The back cover of God Is My Co-Pilot's first release, the 1991 seven-inch Songs of Praise

If you've read my recent posts on Gravitar and Star Pimp, you already know I was a college-radio weenie in the early 90s. Back then I was only dimly aware of the queer activism happening in punk, hardcore, and other forms of underground and avant-garde rock. I mean, I knew that Pansy Division, Team Dresch, Tribe 8, and Fifth Column existed, but did I understand that they were part of a deep-rooted movement? I doubt it. I was a mostly straight kid, still getting educated about all sorts of shit, and the Internet wasn't around to help me connect the dots.

Today, of course, I work in music journalism. It's part of my job to be aware of stuff. But to my ears, the current conversation around queer punk is missing something: Almost nobody seems to remember God Is My Co-Pilot.

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Did you read about the GOP debate, kidnapping, and Burt's Place?

Posted By on 10.29.15 at 11:43 AM

  • AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
  • Ugh

Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, alarm, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read

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Can the media save Ibrahim Parlak the second time around?

Posted By on 10.29.15 at 11:32 AM

click image Ibraham Parlak returns home after 10 months in county jail. - (FREE IBRAHIM)
  • (Free Ibrahim)
  • Ibraham Parlak returns home after 10 months in county jail.

When Ibraham Parlak was arrested by Homeland Security in July of 2004 as a Kurdish terrorist who needed to be thrown out of the country, the first Chicago journalist to write about his plight was Mike Sneed. I had something to do with that. Parlak ran a restaurant on the Red Arrow Highway in southwest Michigan and was a popular member of the Harbor Country community. But his application to become a naturalized American set off an alarm. He’d once been arrested back in Turkey as a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which in 1997—six years after he came to America—the U.S. designated a terrorist organization. A friend who knew Parlak well called me crying. He’d just been scooped up and thrown in jail and he could be shipped off at any time to Turkey. Parlak had a wife, a family, a business—he was no enemy of America! Something had to be done.

Sometimes the reason to write a news story is to send a message: Somebody’s watching! Parlak needed coverage fast. I called Sneed. She wrote her story, and then other people wrote their own. The community rallied around Parlak; influential lawyers with Washington connections joined his legal team. After ten months behind bars, Parlak was released from jail and went back to his family and restaurant.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Get to know local rapper Kweku Collins at his first headlining show tomorrow

Posted By on 10.28.15 at 02:00 PM

Courtesy of Closed Sessions - KWEKU COLLINS
  • Kweku Collins
  • Courtesy of Closed Sessions

On May 31 local rapper Kweku Collins was one of more than 700 teenagers graduating from Evanston Township High School. While most of his classmates had summer to look forward to before going off to college in the fall, Collins was jumping straight into his professional life. At the beginning of April the rapper publicly announced he signed a deal with Chicago indie hip-hop label Closed Sessions, which began seeding the Internet with lushly produced cuts from Collins.

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You watched the Cubs lose. Now hear the song.

Posted By on 10.28.15 at 12:30 PM

  • Chris Houchens
  • Natty Bumppo

"It's the first sad song I have ever written," Natty Bumppo tells me.

What he was lacking was the occasion, and the Cubs just provided it. "The Cubs Is Dead" traffics in none of the usual solace. There's no waiting 'til next year, which our sports desks are assuring us looks incredibly sweet. There's no consolation in what a miraculous year this one was before the wheels came off.

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Celebrate Halloween with oddball R&B artist T. Valentine on Saturday

Posted By on 10.28.15 at 12:00 PM


Outsider R&B vet T. Valentine is no stranger to the Reader. He appeared in The Secret History of Chicago Music back in 2012, a dozen years after Norton released a compilation of his scattered, decades-long recordings, Hello Lucille ... Are You A Lesbian? The title of the Norton album shares its name with Valentine's 1985 seven-inch, a bizarre novelty record that made it into the rotation at Northwestern University's student station, WNUR, and garnered a cult status as the years marched on. Valentine's continued to make music since then, and the same year he appeared in Secret History he released a full-length with New York blues punks Daddy Long Legs called The Vampire.

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Did you read about systemic racism, antioxidants, and bacon?

Posted By on 10.28.15 at 11:16 AM

Deliciously noncancerous - JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES
  • Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Deliciously noncancerous

Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, alarm, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read

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A whole bunch of wigs on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 10.28.15 at 07:00 AM


Scott Williams
SHOW: Cool Chris and the Soul Summit DJs at Double Door on Sat 10/17

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