The Bleader | Blog + Reader, the Chicago Reader's blog

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Chicago's disturbing violence surge: shootings up 80 percent, and other news

Posted By on 03.30.16 at 06:00 AM

Chicago Police investigate in the 7400 block of North Ridge after an 18-year-old man was fatally shot in the head Wednesday, March 23. - ASHLEE REZIN/SUN-TIMES
  • Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
  • Chicago Police investigate in the 7400 block of North Ridge after an 18-year-old man was fatally shot in the head Wednesday, March 23.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

  • Weather: Temperatures reach the 60s, with an afternoon shower

The temperature will remain pretty steady, with a high of 60 and a low of 58. It will be a lovely day except for a shower (or two) expected in the afternoon. [AccuWeather]

  • There have been at least 775 shootings in Chicago in 2016

Gun violence has increased by a shocking 80 percent in the first three months of 2016. At the end of March last year, 419 people had been shot in the city; this year, that number has risen to at least 775 as of Monday. An appalling 240 shootings occurred between March 1 and early March 28. [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Could the Bulls' Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler go on the market?

It's no secret that the Bulls are a disaster right now. They're inching toward the end of a disappointing season and are in serious danger of not reaching the playoffs. The Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom is calling for big changes to the team—such as firing general manager Gar Forman and coach Fred Hoiberg, or trading away major players like Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. [Tribune]

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

At Canton Regio in Pilsen, it's hard to resist the temptation to fight with your food

Posted By on 03.29.16 at 01:19 PM

Steak on the grill at Canton Regio - COURTESY CANTON REGIO
  • Courtesy Canton Regio
  • Steak on the grill at Canton Regio

There's something irresistible about eating food off a stick. At Canton Regio, the brochetas arrive dangling from a little metal stand. It's a setup that's satisfyingly medieval, and it's tempting to grab one and point it at the person across the table, and shout "En garde!" But then a piece of meat or a shrimp might fall off and land on the floor, lost forever, and that would be sad because those brochetas really are quite tasty. So is the arrachera, or grilled skirt steak, which is available by the kilo and arrives at the table on its own wrought-iron stand (though without weaponry, alas). It should also prove once and for all that inexpensive cuts of meat don't have to be tough and tasteless.

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Blues guitarist Andrew Brown died just as his fame began to catch up with his importance

Posted By on 03.29.16 at 01:00 PM


Since 2004 Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) has used the Secret History of Chicago Music to shine a light on worthy artists with Chicago ties who've been forgotten, underrated, or never noticed in the first place. Older strips are archived here.

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Revisit a classic early Meat Puppets tune

Posted By on 03.29.16 at 12:00 PM

Meat Puppets - JOSEPH CULTICE
  • Joseph Cultice
  • Meat Puppets

A couple days ago, Reader culture editor Tal Rosenberg tweeted about noticing that the Meat Puppets had played the house band in the 1990 pilot for Beverly Hills 90210. I've never seen that show, but at that time the Arizona trio were in transition—they'd released their final album for SST, Monsters, the year before, and would drop their major-label debut, Forbidden Places (London), a year later. I haven’t listened to the three albums the Meat Puppets made for London in a very long time, but I remember liking them—including 1994's Too High to Die, which went gold. Drug problems and the departure of founding drummer Derrick Bostrom pretty much doomed the group a few years later.

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A fond farewell to Logan Square DIY venue Wally's World

Posted By on 03.29.16 at 07:00 AM

The crowd on the second-to-last day of Walter's Wake Week - CHRIS RIHA
  • Chris Riha
  • The crowd on the second-to-last day of Walter's Wake Week

It's 5 AM on Easter morning, and Wally's World is dead. After three years and more than a hundred DIY shows, the rock 'n' roll speakeasy is calling it quits. In a few months, the building that's been home to Wally's World—at 2841 W. Belden, under the Blue Line tracks in Logan Square—will be demolished, as its new owner attempts to have the property rezoned for residential use. The shadow of gentrification hangs over all. Wally's will not rise again.

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What's driving the mass exodus out of Chicago, and other news

Posted By on 03.29.16 at 06:00 AM

What's driving people out of Chicago? - JOAN DITTMAN/FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA
  • Joan Dittman/For Sun-Times Media
  • What's driving people out of Chicago?

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

  • Weather: A bit warmer and sunny

There won't be any rain Tuesday, which is always good. It will be slightly warmer than Monday, and sunny, with a high of 52 and a low of 44. [AccuWeather]

  • Decreasing quality of life might be driving Chicagoans away

The news that Chicago had the largest population decline of any major city in the U.S. in 2015 was jarring for many. The Tribune's Dahleen Glanton looks into what factors might be causing the exodus: high unemployment, bad traffic, gun violence, and the dysfunctional city and state governments. [Tribune]

  • Camiella Williams has lost 23 family members and close friends to gun violence

Camiella Williams is an example of how deeply gun violence has affected the south side. During the past 12 years she's lost 23 relatives and family members to shootings. Her first brush with gun violence happened in 2004, when her crush, a man named Quincy Harris was murdered. Now she's a prominent antiviolence advocate with a bachelor's degree in criminology. [The Trace]

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Moby Dick with puppets at the MCA, All-American basketball at the United Center, and more things to do in Chicago

Posted By on 03.28.16 at 05:00 PM

Blair Thomas & Co. present Moby Dick at the MCA from Thu 3/31-Sun 4/3. - KIPLING SWEHLA
  • Kipling Swehla
  • Blair Thomas & Co. present Moby Dick at the MCA from Thu 3/31-Sun 4/3.

It's time to plan the week. Here's some of what we recommend: 

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Sex Kiki host Coriama Couture wears liberated femininity on her sleeve

Posted By on 03.28.16 at 03:05 PM

Street View is a fashion series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights some of the coolest styles seen in Chicago.

Coriama Couture - ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo
  • Coriama Couture

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Watch MFK bartender Roger Landes make a manhattan using seaweed

Posted By on 03.28.16 at 02:09 PM


"I have a very short list of things I don't eat," Roger Landes says. "Seaweed is nearly at the top of that list."

So the MFK bartender had some research to do after Calvin Marty of Best Intentions challenged him to create a cocktail with the marine algae. "I unfortunately had to taste a lot of different seaweed, in a Sisyphean act of valor," he says. "I realized how many different kinds of seaweed there were—a lot of different textures, flavor profiles." 

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Chicago comedian Peter Alexander Bresnan documents his stand-up struggles in the podcast Tell Me I'm Funny

Posted By on 03.28.16 at 01:50 PM

Peter Alexander Bresnan - MYKAEL LEIGH
  • Mykael Leigh
  • Peter Alexander Bresnan

Chicagoans
is a first-person account from off the beaten track, as told to Anne Ford. This week's Chicagoan is Peter Alexander Bresnan, stand-up comic and podcaster.


"Before I moved here, I had been to Chicago only once, when I was in high school. I had a big crush on one of my friends who went to school here, and as a result the whole city of Chicago took on this romantic air for me, even though this guy was not into me at all. So when I graduated from college and could move anywhere, I said, 'Why don't I go to this city that, in my head at least, is romantic?'

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