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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A lantern lights the way for an ax murderer on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 12.28.16 at 07:00 AM

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ARTIST: Rick Leech
SHOWS: High on Fire at Empty Bottle on Fri 12/30 and Sat 12/31
MORE INFO: rickleechdesign.bigcartel.com

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Remembering Carrie Fisher's Blues Brothers time in Chicago, and other news

Posted By on 12.28.16 at 04:00 AM

Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford - RALPH NELSON, JR.
  • RALPH NELSON, JR.
  • Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Wednesday, December 28, 2016.

  • Weather: Warmer, with a bit of sun

Wednesday should be a beautiful late-December day, with a high of 45 and a low of 32. Periods of both sun and some clouds are expected. [AccuWeather]

  • Carrie Fisher's Blue Brothers Chicago legacy

Actress Carrie Fisher was most famous for her iconic role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, but she also had a starring role in one of the greatest Chicago movies, The Blues Brothers. In that film she blows up a hotel at 22 W. Van Buren Street in an attempt to kill her ex-boyfriend, Joliet Jake Blues, played by John Belushi. Fisher, who passed away Tuesday, was also briefly engaged to costar Dan Aykroyd while filming in Chicago after he saved her life with the Heimlich maneuver. Her final Chicago appearance was at the Wizard World Comic Con in Rosemont in August. [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Billionaire Christopher Reyes asked Rahm to close a Loop street for his daughter's wedding

Billionaire Christopher Reyes, a big donor to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Republican candidates, asked Emanuel to close down Monroe Street "for our guests' passage from the Art Institute of Chicago to the reception across Monroe," according to the Tribune. The mayor ignored Reyes's request by not responding to his e-mail. The message from the 62-year-old food and beverage distributor was one of the e-mails recently released from the mayor's personal account. [Tribune]

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fact vs. fiction: Which gets us closer to the truth?

Posted By on 12.27.16 at 05:22 PM

Donald Trump addresses the GOP convention in Cleveland in July. - AP PHOTO/CAROLYN KASTER
  • AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
  • Donald Trump addresses the GOP convention in Cleveland in July.
Do facts have a future? The New York Times focused its business section on the question Monday, with columnist Jim Rutenberg describing "the realm of the true and how all sides would define it" as the battleground in the "hyperpartisan debate to come under a new president." Rutenberg wondered if the news media is up to the challenge of "maintaining a fact-based national debate."

Another article in Monday's Times describes the challenge facing Snopes, the fact-checking and myth-debunking website now assailed by some conservatives as untrustworthy. Brooke Binkowski, Snopes's managing editor, marveled that "rationality seems to have fallen out of vogue."

Journalists traffic in facts, and for that reason take them more seriously than most. The rest of the world is a lot more focused on reality—and beyond that, perhaps, a shadowy something called truth. Reality is something we just know—it isn't something facts reveal.

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Two more 2016 surprises: The end of Oracle Productions, and the end of the Hypocrites as we know them

Posted By on 12.27.16 at 04:45 PM

Taken from This House Believes the American Dream Is at the Expense of the American Negro, which Oracle produced in the summer of 2015 - JOE MAZZA
  • JOE MAZZA
  • Taken from This House Believes the American Dream Is at the Expense of the American Negro, which Oracle produced in the summer of 2015

The Chicago theater community got a pair of year-end jolts with December announcements about the demise of Oracle Productions and the near demise of the Hypocrites.

The stories aren't the same, and don't carry the same voltage, but there are some common elements. Both companies were on an upward trajectory, with recent artistic successes and expanded goals. Both had marched boldly into larger quarters. And both had boards that pulled the plug. It's apparently just a coincidence that the companies' artistic directors—both laid off—happen to be married to each other.

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Report: President Barack Obama is planning to say farewell at McCormick Place, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 12.27.16 at 11:02 AM

President Obama—and First Lady Michelle Obama—addressed troops at a U.S. Marine base in Hawaii over the weekend. - AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM
  • AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM
  • President Obama—and First Lady Michelle Obama—addressed troops at a U.S. Marine base in Hawaii over the weekend.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Tuesday, December 27, 2016. We hope you had a wonderful long holiday weekend!

  • Weather: Cloudy

Colder temperatures return Tuesday, with a high of 37 and a low of 28. It's supposed to be mostly cloudy and a bit windy. [AccuWeather]

  • President Obama reportedly planning an exit party at McCormick Place

President Barack Obama is reportedly planning an event—and a possible good-bye speech—at McCormick Place before he leaves office in January. Local officials told DNAinfo Chicago that one of "the larger spaces in McCormick Place would be used for an event with the president during the second week of January." [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • No letup in violence over the holiday weekend as 57 people shot

The gun violence continued over the Christmas and Hanukkah weekend in Chicago: between the Friday and Monday afternoon 57 people were shot, 11 fatally. The Chicago Police Department says most of the shootings were gang related. "Ninety percent of those fatally wounded had gang affiliations, criminal histories and were pre-identified by the department's strategic subject algorithm as being a potential suspect or victim of gun violence," CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Tribune. [Tribune]

  • Former "harbor boss" tells stories of lakefront-related corruption

Robert Nelson, the city's final director of Harbors and Marine Services between 1987 and 1993, has written a book called Dirty Waters (reviewed by the Reader here) about the experience. Nelson, now 76, was appointed by Mayor Harold Washington. The four men who held the "harbor boss" job before him all ended up in federal prison. "It was so chaotic and it was obvious I was not welcome, not by the Washington administration, but by the old culture," Nelson told the Tribune. "So I started very early on taking notes and copying memos." [Tribune]

  • Local documentary filmmaker David Steiner killed in rural Uganda

Chicago-based documentary filmmaker David Steiner (Saving Barbara Sizemore) was killed Monday in a bus crash in rural Uganda. The 51-year-old was in the East African country filming a piece about two Sudanese boys, according to the Sun-Times. Steiner's son, Itamar, and an Englewood teen who attends the Barbara A. Sizemore Academy were injured in the accident. [Sun-Times]

  • Members try to get their money back as River North gym closes due to "severe competitive pressures"

David Barton was a fashionable chain of gyms with celebrity clients and locations in Miami, New York, and River North—until last week. The nightclub-inspired chain left its members in a lurch when it announced a surprise immediate closure of its Chicago club due to "severe competitive pressures." "I'm not really out a lot of money," Kyle Bicking, a former member of the River North location, told DNAinfo Chicago. "But anyone who signed in the middle of the year, they're probably out half a year's worth of dues." [DNAinfo Chicago]


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Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Showcase Showdown wish you the happiest of holidays with ‘Merry Christmas, I Fucked Your Snowman’

Posted By on 12.25.16 at 05:00 AM

showcaseshowdownchristmasfront.jpg

Tradition keeps us cozy and warm around the holidays—and a routine that only happens once a year can't feel too tedious. Maybe your thing is to happily choke down extra-boozy eggnog with a brick of fruitcake, or perhaps you gather around the TV to watch Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney sass each other in White Christmas. Both totally decent options. Me, I like to repeatedly listen to and eventually write a short post about the B side of a little-known 1995 seven-inch by great long-gone Boston oi-punk band the Showcase Showdown: “Merry Christmas, I Fucked Your Snowman.”

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Court forces CHA to replace public housing lost at Lathrop on the north side

Posted By on 12.23.16 at 02:00 PM

Shuttered buildings at the Lathrop Homes in May 2014 - MAYA DUKMASOVA
  • Maya Dukmasova
  • Shuttered buildings at the Lathrop Homes in May 2014

In a win for fair housing advocates, on Thursday a federal court issued an order committing the Chicago Housing Authority to retaining 525 subsidized housing units on the north side. These units will replace the 525 public housing units that will be lost on the site of the Lathrop Homes as a result of the redevelopment anticipated to begin in 2017.

Though advocates consider the court order a victory in the ongoing fight to preserve affordable housing in integrated north-side neighborhoods, the terms of the order also raise concerns about how long low-income families could count on these new units, and how long they may have to wait for them.

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Records dump reveals Rahm's millionaires-only e-mail club

Posted By on 12.23.16 at 01:21 PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel during a press conference in mid-December - SANTIAGO COVARRUBIAS/SUN-TIMES MEDIA
  • Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times Media
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel during a press conference in mid-December

If you want to know one of the reasons why Donald Trump won the election—or, more to the point, why Hillary Clinton lost—check out the thousands of e-mails Mayor Rahm Emanel released this week—kicking and screaming—thanks to a lawsuit filed by the Better Government Association.

Democrats are struggling with a basic contradiction that hurts their outreach to ordinary citizens: at least as far as public perception goes, they've aligned themselves with the one percent on issues like trade, jobs, and wages, even though they're supposed to be the party of the poor and the dispossessed.

This is by no means the only reason Clinton lost an election she actually won—by more than 2.8 million votes, last time I looked.

But the contradiction comes out loud and clear in these "Mayor 1 Percent" e-mails, especially from his first years in office.

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Rahm Emanuel releases several years’ worth of e-mails, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 12.23.16 at 10:57 AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago City Council meeting on December 14 - SANTIAGO COVARRUBIAS/SUN-TIMES
  • Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago City Council meeting on December 14

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, December 23, 2016. Happy holidays!

  • Weather: Rain and/or snow possible

Friday is supposed to be rainy, with a high of 37 and a low of 33. Showers of rain and/or snow are possible in the afternoon and evening. [AccuWeather]

  • Surprise: Mayor Rahm Emanuel releases e-mails, bans use of private e-mail for city business

Mayor Rahm Emanuel surprised Chicagoans by releasing a collection of his e-mails from a Gmail account and another personal e-mail account, mayor_re@rahmemail.com. The mayor also introduced a ban on city workers "using their private or other non-city email accounts for the transaction of public business." There are some interesting tidbits in the e-mails that the Better Government Association and the Tribune have been fighting to access for more than a year. Emanuel "often used his private email accounts to pitch stories to journalists at the New York Times and to New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick," according to the Sun-Times. He also wrote "I love you a lot" in a 2011 e-mail to now-governor Bruce Rauner. [Sun-Times] [Tribune]

  • "Bored, broke and armed": Going inside gang life with the New York Times

The vast majority of the nearly 3,500 shootings in the city so far in 2016 are gang related, according to authorities. The New York Times explores the realities of gang life in Chicago by profiling a few members in the months after a truce between gangs was reached at New Beginnings Church in June. "But if we're sitting here bored, getting high and we got guns around, it ain't nothing else to do," a Black Disciple member told the paper. [New York Times]

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Things to do in Chicago on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2016

Posted By on 12.22.16 at 07:19 PM

Delilah's resurrects the galactic holiday classic on Christmas Day.
  • Delilah's resurrects the galactic holiday classic on Christmas Day.

Whether you don't want to dirty your kitchen, are avoiding holiday cheer, or just want a dark, quiet place to sit with your family, there are plenty of restaurants, films, parties, exhibits, and more to help you avoid holiday-induced cabin fever. Here's what we recommend:

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