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Monday, November 30, 2015

Chicago activists explain why black space matters

Posted By and on 11.30.15 at 04:18 PM

Activists made it clear to reporters and allies that the action Wednesday was a space organized and led by black youth. - MARTIN MACIAS
  • Martin Macias
  • Activists made it clear to reporters and allies that the action Wednesday was a space organized and led by black youth.

Just minutes before the Chicago Police Department released a video Tuesday of a white police officer shooting a black teenager to death, several groups of black activists marched to Cook County state's attorney Anita Alvarez's office on the near west side of Chicago to attend a community forum. She had waited too long to charge officer Jason Van Dyke for the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, they said. It was more than a year after the October 2014 shooting and the charges came only after a judge had ordered the release of the video showing his death.

But the activists declined to give interviews to reporters flanking them during their public demonstration. One woman told a journalist he was taking up "valuable black space in an action about black suffering." After not being allowed into Alvarez's community forum, the protesters regrouped at a nearby gallery and asked reporters to stay out of the "strictly black-only space."

Veronica Morris-Moore, an organizer with Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY), told reporters, "This is a space where black people are trying to process this right now. . . . I understand this is a public sidewalk but I need you to respect these people in here if you want to talk to them . . . [and] not look like you're here to capture a circus show."

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George Klauba's new exhibit recalls love in the time of revolution

Posted By on 11.30.15 at 01:00 PM

George Klauba, Octubre 26 1962, 2015 - SAVERIO TRUGLIA
  • Saverio Truglia
  • George Klauba, Octubre 26 1962, 2015

A single month spent in Cuba in 1958 as a sailor enveloped in a love affair left a lasting impression on artist George Klauba. His latest exhibit at the Ann Nathan Gallery, "Cuba: Rebels, Orishas, & 26 Julio," is built on that impression. He uses, as he puts it, a "mix of imagination and fact" to examine a world embroiled in upheaval and rebellion.

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Rick Bayless, ZooLights with beer, and more things to do in Chicago to kick off December

Posted By on 11.30.15 at 12:33 PM

Rick Bayless stops by The Interview Show this week. - SUN-TIMES MEDIA
  • Sun-Times Media
  • Rick Bayless stops by The Interview Show this week.

Planning this wintery week? Here are some recommendations for November 30-December 3:

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Why do cops in trouble get the benefit of the doubt?

Posted By on 11.30.15 at 12:17 PM

Chicago police stood guard Wednesday as demonstrators protested the death of Laquan McDonald. - SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES
  • Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • Chicago police stood guard Wednesday as demonstrators protested the death of Laquan McDonald.

When cops in trouble enjoy the benefit of the doubt, is it because they’ve earned it? Or is there something else going on? Do the people in charge think cutting cops some slack is the prudent thing to do?

In Baltimore, six cops are in trouble. Last April, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, suffered a spinal injury while in the custody of Baltimore police and died a few days later. Counts against the six charged officers range from second-degree murder to manslaughter to false arrest, and the first of the trials begins Monday. Though it’s remarkable that the officers were charged at all, said Todd Oppenheim, a Baltimore public defender, in an op-ed in the Sunday New York Times, they have since received "extraordinary treatment." For instance, their bail was "disproportionately low," they were excused from showing up in court for pretrial motions, and their cases moved through to legal system to trial on an accelerated schedule.

This "preferential treatment," as Oppenheim calls it, is put in the shade by Chicago’s response to the October 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald. Though a video showed the 17-year-old being fired at by a police officer he wasn’t threatening, an autopsy report said he’d been shot 16 times, and eyewitnesses were plentiful, Officer Jason Van Dyke wasn’t charged with murder until last Tuesday, the same day the video finally was made public.

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Did you read about the University of Chicago, CPD body cams, and Cards Against Humanity?

Posted By on 11.30.15 at 10:30 AM

The University of Chicago campus is closed today after a warning from FBI counterterrorism officials. - CHUCK SZMURLO
  • Chuck Szmurlo
  • The University of Chicago campus is closed today after a warning from FBI counterterrorism officials.

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

Hey, did you read:

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Post-Thanksgiving weekend events and things to do in Chicago

Posted By on 11.27.15 at 04:09 PM

The aisles of the Music Box Theatre are alive with The Sound of Music.
  • The aisles of the Music Box Theatre are alive with The Sound of Music.

Planning the post-Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago? Here's some of what we recommend:

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Long reads from the Reader archive for your long Thanksgiving weekend

Posted By on 11.27.15 at 03:57 PM

1261073759-mincepiecover.jpg

It's cold and gross outside and chances are good you're currently in some sort of semi-vegetative state from all the Thanksgiving food, booze, and downtime with extended family. The long weekend is a perfect chance to luxuriate with some long reads. Here are a few favorites from the Reader archives that—like your grandma's pumpkin pie—never get old. 

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Pianist Alexander Hawkins signals a new era of progressive British jazz

Posted By on 11.27.15 at 02:00 PM

Alexander Hawkins - EDU HAWKINS
  • Edu Hawkins
  • Alexander Hawkins

Back in the 60s England was a crucial force in the development of improvised music. A raft of distinctive players reared on American jazz diverged from a stylistic path to forge the genuinely nonidiomatic approach of free improvisation. The legacy, influence, and importance of folks like Derek Bailey, John Stevens, Tony Oxley, and Evan Parker, among others, remains undiminished half a century after they first emerged. The UK has continued to boast a formidable jazz and improvised music scene with loads of talented players coming along year after year, but for much of the 80s and 90s those folks lacked a lasting vision. Too many jazz musicians got caught up in rather shallow trends like acid jazz, making music that now sounds horribly dated, facile, and stale. In recent years, however, things have improved dramatically. And few current practitioners are as exciting, deep, and committed as the Oxford pianist Alexander Hawkins, a musician whose easy versatility has given him loads of opportunities.

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Rahm could've been the hero in the McDonald shooting

Posted By on 11.27.15 at 01:39 PM

Emanuel did the immoral—and politically stupid—thing in the case of the McDonald shooting video. - BRIAN JACKSON/ FOR THE SUN-TIMES
  • Brian Jackson/ For the Sun-Times
  • Emanuel did the immoral—and politically stupid—thing in the case of the McDonald shooting video.


In the last few days, I've heard a lot of people say there's no way Mayor Emanuel would have defeated Jesus "Chuy" Garcia had voters been able to see the video of police officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

In fact, I just read John Kass and Garcia articulate this view in a recent Tribune column.

With all due respect, I don't buy it.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Schwinn-inspired dinner transforms a Milwaukee Avenue bike shop into a supper club

Posted By on 11.26.15 at 10:00 AM

PETER DENSMORE
  • Peter Densmore

How does one cook a four-course dinner for 35 people in a bike shop with no kitchen? To be honest, I don't really know—but I do know that on Sunday night at Let's Roast Cycles, chef Won Kim pulled it off admirably. Course after course made its way from the back of the shop, where paper-covered worktables were being used for plating dishes and mixing cocktails, to the front, where diners sat at folding tables tucked between rows of bikes that had been draped with strings of lights.

The event, called Schwinn Provisions, was a dinner party hosted by the new pop-up series Drop Leaf Dinners, dedicated to celebrating "accidentally iconic" places in Chicago—which cofounder Polly Nevins describes as places that aren't famous, but "are meaningful to neighborhoods and to the community." The first dinner in the series was an Asian-inspired meal at Flub A Dub Chub's hot dog stand in Lakeview; Sunday's dinner was built around Milwaukee Avenue, bike culture, and Schwinn's manufacturing legacy in Chicago.

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