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Monday, February 29, 2016

Your guide to voting early in Chicago

Posted By on 02.29.16 at 03:57 PM

Vote early, not often. - JOSHUA LOTT/GETTY IMAGES
  • Joshua Lott/Getty Images
  • Vote early, not often.

Monday kicks off in-person early voting in Chicago ahead of the March 15 Illinois primary.

Voter turnout is generally low in Chicago, and has been for the last several primaries. The 2014 Illinois primary saw the worst turnout in the state's history, according to the Chicago Board of Elections, with only about 16.5 percent of registered voters bothering to cast a ballot. But early voter turnout in 2014 was the highest it's been since the program started 2006. According to the Cook County Clerk's office, there were 43,027 early ballots cast that year, 18.6 percent of all of the ballots cast during that election.

If you want to keep up this trend and vote early, here's what you should know:

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Lost Lake goes disco, Spike Lee talks Chi-Raq, and more things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 02.29.16 at 02:14 PM

Lost Lake - CLAYTON HAUCK
  • Clayton Hauck
  • Lost Lake

It's a leap year, so we get an extra day! Here's some of what we recommend to fill your spare time:

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Tribune says GOP, Obama should take 'middle ground' on the Supreme Court opening

Posted By on 02.29.16 at 11:00 AM

The flag in front of the Supreme Court building flies at half-staff for late Justice Antonin Scalia. - AP/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE, FILE
  • AP/J. Scott Applewhite, File
  • The flag in front of the Supreme Court building flies at half-staff for late Justice Antonin Scalia.

I'm not sure I follow the thinking in the Tribune's editorial Sunday addressing the vacancy on the Supreme Court. President Obama wants to nominate a successor to Antonin Scalia; the Republicans vow they'll ignore the nomination. Said the Tribune: "May we suggest there is indeed a middle ground."

Obama is "full entitled" to name a successor, said the Tribune, and the Senate is "full entitled" to hold hearings, debate the nominee, and vote him or her up or down. 

How is that a middle ground? If the Republican-controlled Senate votes the nomination up, Obama gets his way. If it votes the nomination after engaging in a dog-and-pony show it's wasted everyone's time and fooled nobody. 

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Layoffs possible for Chicago Public Schools teachers and other Chicago news

Posted By on 02.29.16 at 10:49 AM

The Chicago Teachers Union last week protested the city's use of TIF funds for development instead of the schools. - BRIAN JACKSON/SUN-TIMES
  • Brian Jackson/Sun-Times
  • The Chicago Teachers Union last week protested the city's use of TIF funds for development instead of the schools.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, February 29, 2016. Happy Leap Day! 

  • Weather: Another warm and sunny day, but snow is possible later

Monday will start out beautifully, with a high of 51 and sunshine, but there's snow in the forecast for this evening. On that note, Sunday broke the record high temperature for February 28. When the thermometers hit 62 degrees at O'Hare International Airport around 1 PM, we surpassed the 61 degrees reached in 1895. Enjoy the nice weather while you can! [NBC Chicago] [AccuWeather]

  • Possible layoffs looming for Chicago Public Schools teachers

CPS teachers are worried about layoffs as they head into the classroom this week. The district says some layoffs are coming as early as Monday, but no one is sure how many teachers could lose their jobs. [ABC7 Chicago]

  • Chicago surpasses 100 homicide benchmark very early into 2016

The fatal shooting of Shari Graham, 30, in Armour Square Friday evening was the 100th homicide of 2016. The city quickly reached 101 homicides on Saturday. The murder rate has been spiking this year—in 2015 Chicago reached 100 homicides by April 16. [Sun-Times]

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Brothers in life and vending machines

Posted By on 02.29.16 at 09:00 AM

Chicagoans is a first-person account from off the beaten track, as told to Anne Ford. This week's Chicagoans are Mark and Daniel Stein, brothers and owners of Mark Vend Co.

Daniel and Mark Stein of Mark Vend Co. - CHRIS RIHA
  • Chris Riha
  • Daniel and Mark Stein of Mark Vend Co.

Daniel: 
Dad started Mark Vend in 1962. People always ask, "Are you mad that he named the company after your brother and not you?" It doesn’t bother me a bit. First, I wasn’t born yet. And second, no one ever calls up irate looking for Daniel.

At first it was all cigarette vending machines—that was back when smoking was good for you. Over time Dad expanded to candy and coffee and cocoa. All of our classmates knew exactly what Mr. Stein did for a living. The truth is, people love vending machines. There's something magical about being at the skating rink and having your father open up the vending machine and turn on free hot cocoa for the hockey team.

Mark: Our father was rather gregarious, a bit larger than life.

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Second City CEO Andrew Alexander remembers co-owner Len Stuart

Posted By on 02.29.16 at 07:00 AM

Andrew Alexander and Len Stuart - COURTESY SECOND CITY
  • courtesy Second City
  • Andrew Alexander and Len Stuart

Last Monday Second City co-owner Len Stuart died in hospice care surrounded by his family and friends, among them Second City CEO and executive producer Andrew Alexander. Stuart was 73. 

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Watch the Oscars at Logan Theatre, see typographic art at Typeforce, and more things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 02.26.16 at 03:54 PM

Head to the Logan Theatre on Sunday to watch as Chris Rock hosts the 88th annual #OscarsSoWhite. - KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES
  • KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES
  • Head to the Logan Theatre on Sunday to watch as Chris Rock hosts the 88th annual #OscarsSoWhite.

Time to plan the weekend. Here's some of what we recommend:

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In a month full of horror movies, the minimalist The Witch stands out

Posted By on 02.26.16 at 03:00 PM

The Witch
  • The Witch

Hollywood's annual release calendar is divided roughly into thirds: the summer-action season (which actually starts in the spring); awards season, which begins in earnest in September; and the rest of the year, the postholiday winter months when some scrappy genre movies get to fight for screen time against prestige, Oscar-buzz holdovers. We're currently in the third period, and during the past month a number of horror movies have made it to local theaters. Three of the releases are notable: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the Screen Gems release that tanked at the box office; Southbound, a low-budget anthology (or omnibus) film from the Orchard, a burgeoning indie distributor that specializes in youth-oriented fare; and The Witch, which premiered at Sundance last year, won filmmaker Robert Eggers the best director prize, and was quickly snapped up by tastemaking distributor A24. In terms of quality and ambition, they range from inept to impressive, and only The Witch has anything resembling a new approach to the genre.

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Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt collaborates with bass great Ron Carter

Posted By on 02.26.16 at 02:00 PM

Jeremy Pelt - SALLY PRITCHARD
  • Sally Pritchard
  • Jeremy Pelt

In my mind Jeremy Pelt is as good a mainstream trumpeter as anyone in jazz, a highly skilled player with a sure grasp of postbop fundamentals who routinely shakes up his own practice. He's not radical, and he never strays too far from a hard-swinging path, but he's clearly driven by curiosity and the urge to try new things. For years he led one of my favorite acoustic bands, a deft and nuanced quintet that explored fresh territory from the starting place established by the great Miles Davis Quintet with Wayne Shorter. Over the past few years, though, he's been leading a shifting array of players—sometimes experimenting with vintage, groove-oriented fusion, sometimes leading a combo with two drummers. He calls his current working band the Power Quintet (it's booked to play the Jazz Showcase in December 2016), and it includes frequent collaborator Danny Grissett on piano, Steve Nelson on vibes, Peter Washington on bass, and Bill Stewart on drums.

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A poppy new single from shoegaze revivalists Nothing

Posted By on 02.26.16 at 12:00 PM

Nothing - COURTESY THE ARTIST
  • courtesy the artist
  • Nothing

Philadelphia-based shoegaze-revival act Nothing have just announced a release date for their second LP, May's Tired of Tomorrow (Relapse Records) and along with the news comes the album's first single. On "Vertigo Flowers," today's 12 O'Clock Track, the four-piece push their wall-0f-sound style out of the spacey yearning that dominated their previous record, Guilty of Everything, and into straight-ahead, summery pop. The smooth and sunny tune rides on a warm, upbeat 90s vibe and brims with majestic hooks and melodies. Nothing are masters at conveying specific moods, and it's refreshing to hear them doing that with flowery joy rather than gloom and doom. Check it out below.

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Performing Arts
Bus Stop Athenaeum Theatre
July 19
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Drake, Migos United Center
August 17

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