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Friday, December 30, 2016

A former Chicago bartender returns from Cambodia to mix cocktails from her Phnom Penh bar

Posted By on 12.30.16 at 07:25 PM

Annemarie Sagoi pours Bura the Explora at Le Boutier - JUDE GOERGEN
  • Jude Goergen
  • Annemarie Sagoi pours Bura the Explora at Le Boutier

When longtime Chicago bartender Annemarie Sagoi, a veteran of the Dawson and the Drifter, went to Cambodia last year with her business partner, David Chhay, to consult on a hotel bar opening in the city of Phnom Penh, she only expected to stay for a few months. But while plans for that bar fell through, both Sagoi and Chhay became enamored of the city. At the beginning of 2016 they opened Le Boutier, a craft cocktail bar that celebrates Cambodia's "golden age" of rock in the 1960s and '70s. On January 3, Sagoi will be bringing several of Le Boutier's cocktails to Bar DeVille for a one-night pop-up bar highlighting Cambodian flavors. She talked to me recently about her bar, the drinks she'll be serving in Chicago, and cocktail culture in Phnom Penh.

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A Q&A with Fences costars Stephen McKinley Henderson and Jovan Adepo

Posted By on 12.30.16 at 04:37 PM

From left to right: Mykelti Williamson, Jovan Adepo, Stephen Henderson, and Denzel Washington
  • From left to right: Mykelti Williamson, Jovan Adepo, Stephen Henderson, and Denzel Washington
Fences, in theaters now, is the first August Wilson play to be adapted into a feature film backed by a major film studio (The Piano Lesson, which was first produced in 1987, was made for TV in 1995). The sixth entry in Wilson's ten-part "Pittsburgh Cycle"—which focuses on a former Negro League baseball star turned trash collector in 1950s Pittsburgh who takes his bitter frustrations out on his family—premiered on Broadway in 1987 and won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Wilson died in 2005, but had already written a screenplay for the eventual cinematic version—Denzel Washington, who starred as Troy in the 2010 Broadway revival, both directed and produced it for the big screen.

Washington stars in the film as well, alongside Viola Davis as Troy's wife, Mykelti Williamson as his brother, Russell Hornsby as his older son, and Stephen McKinley Henderson as his best friend, Bono; all of these actors also reprise their roles from the revival. The new addition is Jovan Adepo (The Leftovers), who plays Troy's sensitive and athletic younger son, Cory.

I sat down with Henderson and Adepo at a recent press stop in Chicago to talk to them about performing Wilson's "blues iambic," working with Washington and Davis, and why they decided to become actors.

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New Year's Eve parties, New Year's Day hangover events, and more things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 12.30.16 at 01:49 PM

Chef Brian Jupiter serves up a smoked-animal feast at Frontier on New Year's Eve. - MICHAEL BOYD
  • Michael Boyd
  • Chef Brian Jupiter serves up a smoked-animal feast at Frontier on New Year's Eve.

There's plenty to do this New Year's weekend. Here's some of what we recommend to really make the most of the final days of 2016 and start 2017 on an upswing:

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Former CPD top cop McCarthy slams police, and other news

Posted By on 12.30.16 at 04:00 AM

Former Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy talks to reporters outside the City Club of Chicago in May. - LOU FOGLIA/SUN-TIMES
  • Lou Foglia/Sun-Times
  • Former Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy talks to reporters outside the City Club of Chicago in May.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, December 30, 2016. Have a great New Year's weekend!

  • McCarthy calls Chicago's gun violence surge a "crisis"

Former Chicago Police Department superintendent Garry McCarthy says the way that the police are handling the massive increase in shootings and homicides is a "huge problem" and calls the issue a "crisis." Police stops and arrests have decreased dramatically this year. "The police activity is horrific. Honestly. And there's not an excuse that could be made in my book," McCarthy told 60 Minutes in an interview set to air on CBS Sunday evening. "The noncompliance of the law is becoming legitimized. And the police are on their heels. . . . We're reaching a state of lawlessness." McCarthy was fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in November 2015 after the release of the Laquan McDonald video. [Sun-Times]

  • Rahm considered a Chicago-only lottery to generate revenue

Mayor Rahm Emanuel considered launching a Chicago-exclusive lottery to help the city get out of its financial crisis, according to the recently released trove of his e-mails. Former Illinois Lottery director Michael Jones suggested the idea in a memo to senate president John Cullerton, who then forwarded it to Emanuel, who passed it on to deputy mayor Steve Koch and Chicago Public Schools chief Forrest Claypool. Jones believed that a lottery could generate $500 million or more in revenue  for the city per year. A spokesman for the city told Crain's Chicago Business that the mayor is also looking for "new ideas and creative solutions" to generate revenue but that "this particular idea is not being pursued at this time." [Crain's Chicago Business]

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

The best overlooked Chicago hip-hop of 2016

Posted By on 12.29.16 at 04:31 PM

yir-chicago_hip_hop-teaser.jpg

Say what you will about 2016 as a whole—the cover of our Year in Review issue sums it up—but Chicago hip-hop had a great year. And while December has traditionally been a quiet month for musicians, no one around here seemed to get the memo. Just look at the past week: Chance the Rapper and Jeremih released a joint Christmas mixtape buoyed by collaborations with Chicagoans from a diversity of scenes, including street-rap phenom Lud Foe and Teklife producers DJ Spinn and Gant-Man; King Louie dropped the long-gestating (by his standards, anyway) Tony 2 on the first anniversary of his near-fatal shooting; and Vic Spencer put out his second full-length in two months, The Ghost of Living, produced by Internet sensation Big Ghost. And the past month has seen wonderful releases by Chicagoans with lower profiles but plenty to say—among them Walter J. Liveharder's We Buy Gold, Lin Z's Awetumn EP, and Sage, the 64th Wonder's Sagewav LP.

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An artist turns his canvases into garments

Posted By on 12.29.16 at 02:32 PM

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

ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo

Lyntuan Jones wears his art on his sleeve. He constructed his hoodie and tote bag from one of his paintings on canvas. Both pieces are samples from Create the New World, the brand the 25-year-old recently cofounded. Jones's hat also exhibited one of his creations, a resin-coated swatch of canvas decorated with copper disks. "This outfit is me," he says, "in my natural form." 

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Stuff we read—and liked!—in 2016

Posted By on 12.29.16 at 01:20 PM

levitt-what_we_read-2016-teaser.jpg

One of the strangest parts of this extremely strange year for me was that for roughly six weeks, between the end of September and the aftermath of the election, I was completely unable to read a book for pleasure. Instead of losing myself in another world, or in someone else's brain, which is the reason I usually read, I kept groping for my phone to check the news. There was too much happening and too much to be anxious about. It felt irresponsible to abandon the real world even for an hour or two. I could miss something important. (Individual at-bats during the World Series qualified.)

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The Chicago Police Department is recruiting black and Hispanic candidates, and other news

Posted By on 12.29.16 at 08:57 AM

Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson announced in September that the department would be hiring 970 new police officers over the next two years. - ASHLEE REZIN/FOR THE SUN-TIMES
  • Ashlee Rezin/For the Sun-Times
  • Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson announced in September that the department would be hiring 970 new police officers over the next two years.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, December 29, 2016.

  • Weather: A bit of snow is possible

It will be colder Thursday, with a high of 36 and a low of 24. Snow flurries are possible in the afternoon, and it will be windy again. [AccuWeather]

  • CPD is actively recruiting more black and Hispanic officers

The Chicago Police Department is stepping up its efforts to recruit minority officers as it prepares to hire nearly 1,000 new cops. The department hopes to hire more black and Hispanic officers, and to that end is hosting open houses in minority neighborhoods. "Growing up I was kind of always out and being bad and stuff," potential recruit Fabiola Camacho, a 21-year-old Latina, told the Wall Street Journal at a recent hiring open house. "After a while you kind of grow out of it. I decided I wanted to help girls that were in my exact situation." [Wall Street Journal]

  • The most dangerous block in Chicago

It's a residential area with a day care center, but the 4400 block of West Monroe in Garfield Park has been the most dangerous block in the city in 2016. There have been eight shootings there this year, leaving ten people wounded and one person dead. "I don't think it's safe here any time," a landlord on the block told DNAinfo Chicago. Chicago Police superintendent Eddie Johnson attributes the violence on the west side to drugs. [DNAinfo Chicago]

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

WCIU premieres Chicago’s One Night Stand-Up on New Year’s Eve

Posted By on 12.28.16 at 03:44 PM

Rebecca O'Neal hosts Chicago's One Night Stand-Up at Zanies in Rosemont. - COURTESY WCIU
  • courtesy wciu
  • Rebecca O'Neal hosts Chicago's One Night Stand-Up at Zanies in Rosemont.

WCIU, the channel best known for airing daytime court television and reruns of The King of Queens, is kicking off the New Year with something a little different. Instead of relying on a 2 Broke Girls marathon to bring in viewers before midnight, the local station will air Chicago's One Night Stand-Up, a showcase of local comics hosted by one of the city's most visible stand-ups, Rebecca O'Neal.

Surprisingly, it's one of the first local TV programs focused on Chicago comedians. "I've been doing this five years now," O'Neal says, "before that I was writing about comedy, and in the time nothing like this has existed."

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Looking for certainty in allegations against the Wash U. men's soccer team

Posted By on 12.28.16 at 11:21 AM

Washington University in Saint Louis recently suspended its men's soccer team. - VIA WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY FACEBOOK
  • Via Washington University Facebook
  • Washington University in Saint Louis recently suspended its men's soccer team.

America has shown itself capable of electing a president who's black—but not yet capable, even eight years later, of electing a president who's a woman. Of course, Hillary Clinton wasn't running against a mere John McCain or Mitt Romney; her bad luck was facing an opponent with the rare gift of reminding the electorate by word and deed, and on virtually a daily basis, that women have no more worth than men allow them.

It's obvious now that this attitude is still widely shared. An interesting story broke earlier this month in Saint Louis, my hometown: Washington University suspended its men's soccer team. Details have been sketchy since then, but we know the university judged comments the men's team made last year in an "online document" about members of the women's soccer team to be "degrading and sexually explicit." Last Wednesday night the women brought these comments to the university's attention; the men's team was promptly suspended pending an investigation.

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