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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Scenes from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

Posted By and on 07.28.16 at 03:20 PM

The "queen of regime change" protesting at Philadelphia's City Hall. - JOEFF DAVIS
  • Joeff Davis
  • The "queen of regime change" protesting at Philadelphia's City Hall.

Photographer Joeff Davis is documenting all the action in and around the Wells Fargo Center during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week. (Check out his photos of last week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland.)  

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Elizabeth Tamny’s cookies look too good to eat—but don’t let that stop you

Posted By on 07.28.16 at 02:58 PM

Some of Tamny's creations
  • Some of Tamny's creations

Elizabeth Tamny has been immersed in the world of the cookie arts since December. She's not baking snickerdoodles or Toll House, but rather applying her illustrative and calligraphic skills to sugar and chocolate-mint cookies. The cookies themselves may be fairly simple, but Tamny's designs are anything but. They're intricate, sometimes lacy filigrees and grids of royal icing, piped in thin lines that swirl and intersect, sometimes rising above the surface in elaborate, delicate spires and domes that echo the towering confectionary structures of the Napoleonic-era French chef Marie-Antoine Carême.


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‘Racism doesn’t taste very good’ and other reactions to Lay’s new international potato chip flavors

Posted By on 07.28.16 at 01:43 PM

This year's new Lay's flavors, all laid out for the taste test - DANIELLE A. SCRUGGS
  • Danielle A. Scruggs
  • This year's new Lay's flavors, all laid out for the taste test

It is once again that wonderful time of year, eagerly awaited by Reader staff, when Lay's releases its experimental potato chip flavors. In past years, Lay's entrusted the conception of its new flavors to the masses and, last year at least, in a beautiful and touching gesture, even gave them credit on the bags. This year, though, it's back to dreaming up flavors in-house. I guess that's not really such a bad thing; based on our taste test, last year's American regional-based flavors were not very good. (Though it's completely understandable why they didn't give anybody credit for the cappuccino chips of 2014. The shame would be everlasting.) 

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The Going Dutch Festival celebrates female-centric dance, performance, visual art, and more

Posted By on 07.28.16 at 01:38 PM

Zoetic Dance Ensemble at last year's Going Dutch Festival - ROBERTO MARTINEZ
  • Roberto Martinez
  • Zoetic Dance Ensemble at last year's Going Dutch Festival
A video survey of Side Street Studio Arts’ 2015 season starts with two women in the backseat of a car, making fart noises into their arms and laughing. You think, Uh-oh. But what follows is a pretty impressive collection of images showing performances, concerts, gallery shows, and crowds.

The Elgin-based SSSA brings its combination of arts and brrraappps to Wicker Park this weekend, partnering with Core Project Chicago on the Going Dutch Festival. Next year SSSA is expected to take over the female-centric festival entirely.

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Obama's great line—'We don't look to be ruled'—doesn't always apply to Chicago

Posted By on 07.28.16 at 01:00 PM

President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night - SEAN SIMMERS VIA AP
  • Sean Simmers via AP
  • President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night
For the last few weeks former governor Pat Quinn has been going around town, trying to build support for a proposal to impose term limits on the mayor's office.

But having heard President Obama's inspirational speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, I think Quinn might want to take his efforts in another direction.

How about a nationwide movement to repeal the 22nd amendment—the one that limits the president to two terms in office?

That way Obama can run again.

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New novel The Sun in Your Eyes is a road trip with a killer playlist

Posted By on 07.28.16 at 01:00 PM

sun_in_your_eyes.jpg

The Sun in Your Eyes
, the new novel by Chicago author Deborah Shapiro, felt familiar to me as soon as I picked it up. This was largely because of the cover photo, William Eggleston's portrait of two young women lying on a faded floral couch. One of the women is disheveled and distraught; her calmer, prettier friend tries to comfort her.

After a few days, I realized it was because I'd seen it on the cover of another book, Sigrid Nunez's 2006 novel The Last of Her Kind. (This is how I know about art history, by the way: through book covers.) But it's also illustrative of a certain kind of college friendship. The girl in the blue bathrobe feels sad and unlovely, especially when she drinks. She's drawn to the golden aura of the girl in the red dress, and alternately basks in that aura and feels her own light diminished by it; she loves her friend and resents her in equal measure. And the girl in red? Well, she's totally fucked up, but she loves the girl in blue for being her eternal ally, even as she envies her steadiness. Their friendship lasts because, in a way, they each want to be the other person. And then after graduation it fades as they move into the world where friendship has to compete with careers and relationships and families.

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Difficult People makes being bad look good

Posted By on 07.28.16 at 11:00 AM

Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner are Difficult People. - HULU
  • Hulu
  • Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner are Difficult People.

Comedians Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner make being a terrible person appear a lot less terrible. In their Hulu comedy Difficult People, they're able to convince others that their questionable moral decisions are the only course of action. Obviously, pretending that you just came out is the best way to get the attention of the hottest guy in the gay bar. And when given the choice between coffee and day wine, day wine is the only way to go. 

These scenarios are straight out of the show's current season, in which Eichner and Klausner have hit their stride. Season one felt like a pair of best friends trying to figure out how to make their inside jokes translate to a larger audience who, for the most part, had no idea who they were. In season two, it's like a reunion with old friends, and it makes for a stronger show.

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Hari Kondabolu makes America laugh about America again

Posted By on 07.28.16 at 09:00 AM

COURTESY HARI KONDABOLU
  • Courtesy Hari Kondabolu


Even though Indian-American comic Hari Kondabolu was born in Queens, xenophobes frequently tell him to go back to places like Iraq, Afganistan, and Libya. "Whatever nation our country is bombing, I'm told to go back there at the worst time to go back," he says. But in Denmark, during a particularly awful performance, he was told to go back to America. Maybe that was a sign of how bad things have gotten here in the States, or maybe it was a sign that Kondabolu had finally proven himself as a Mainstream American Comic (Kill Rock Stars), the sarcastic title of his new album.

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Acclaimed designer Maria Pinto displays her latest collection in the West Loop

Posted By on 07.28.16 at 08:00 AM

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

click image Maria Pinto (right) stands next to one of her models, who's wearing a prefall halter-neck trapeze dress. - ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo
  • Maria Pinto (right) stands next to one of her models, who's wearing a prefall halter-neck trapeze dress.

Acclaimed designer Maria Pinto has received multiple awards (including SAIC's Legend of Fashion in 2009), had her own exhibit at the Field Museum, sold her garments at stores such as Barneys and Neiman Marcus, and dressed Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. M2057, her new and more accessible brand, was funded via Kickstarter in 2013.  The pieces are constructed on demand—clients can then try on all the sizes at her showroom and place an order.

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Cook County commissioner calls for study to ‘examine the status of the African-American male’

Posted By on 07.28.16 at 06:00 AM

Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin - AP PHOTO/SETH PERLMAN
  • AP Photo/Seth Perlman
  • Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin

The awful statistics are widely publicized: More than one-third of black men in America are obese; they also experience the highest rates of HIV infection and die from gunshots at a higher rate than any other population. One in six African-American men has been incarcerated, and if trends continue, a black man born after 2001 has a one in three chance to be incarcerated in his lifetime. Black men have the highest school dropout rates and highest unemployment rates in the country. In 2014, 47 percent of young black men in Chicago were out of work and out of school.

Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin believes that decades of government policies are to blame for these disparities, and that it's time for local government to take serious steps to remedy them.

On Wednesday, Boykin called for the creation of a commission to "examine the status of the African-American male" in Cook County and plans to introduce the bill to the county board in early August. The proposed commission would gather data about the effects of government policy on socioeconomic outcomes in the African-American community.

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