Bleader | Chicago Reader

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Potheads rejoice: Illinois lawmakers move to legalize recreational weed

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 07:01 PM

The proposed Illinois law would make it legal for adults to possess, purchase, and grow weed. - TODD MCINTURF/DETROIT NEWS VIA AP
  • Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP
  • The proposed Illinois law would make it legal for adults to possess, purchase, and grow weed.

The mood among marijuana legalization advocates at the Illinois State Capitol was jubilant Wednesday after legislation was filed to legalize weed for recreational use.

Bills were introduced in both the state house and senate today that would make it legal for people 21 and older to purchase, possess, and grow limited amounts of pot. The bills would establish a system by which businesses are licensed and regulated to grow process, test, and market the drug to adults. The legislation also proposes taxing wholesale sales of weed at a rate of $50 per ounce and subjecting retail sales to the state's 6.25 percent sales tax.

The law would also allow Illinois residents to grow up to five pot plants, says Dan Linn, executive director of the Illinois chapter of NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, who was at the statehouse Wednesday.

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Amazing, dreamlike photos of Saba, Noname, Ne-Hi and more at SXSW

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 06:06 PM

A double exposure of Noname performing at South by Southwest on Thursday, March 16 - BRITTANY SOWACKE
  • Brittany Sowacke
  • A double exposure of Noname performing at South by Southwest on Thursday, March 16

Last week Chicago-based photographer Brittany Sowacke documented national, international, and local artists at South by Southwest, the annual music (and tech and movie) festival in Austin, Texas.

Sowacke uses double exposures and prisms to give her images a hazy, dreamy quality. The slideshow below includes images of hometown heroes Noname, Saba, Joey Purp, Ne-Hi, and Ratboys, as well as other acts from across the country and abroad.

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Eviction filings in Chicago appear to be on the decline

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 04:44 PM

An eviction in process in 2011 - JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES
  • John Moore/Getty Images
  • An eviction in process in 2011

"How many evictions take place in Chicago every year?" is a simple question without an easy answer.

When the Reader began reporting on evictions in December, we found that the last comprehensive study of Cook County eviction court was conducted in 2003 and that data about eviction court proceedings isn't systematically reported by any county agency. Furthermore, in contrast to foreclosure-related information, there's a dearth of information about eviction trends in the county over time.

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What to know about Amazon Books, now open on Southport

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 03:53 PM

The storefront on Southport, in what used to be an Irish pub - AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt
  • The storefront on Southport, in what used to be an Irish pub

The day Chicago's independent booksellers have been dreading for the past six months has finally come to pass: Amazon Books is here.

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Smino raps like he’s from his own planet on his debut album, Blkswn

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 12:00 PM

  • Image from Smino’s Facebook page
  • Smino

won't let the world forget he's from Saint Louis. Sure, he's lived in Chicago for a few years now, assembling the Zero Fatigue collective with singer Ravyn Lenae and producer Monte Booker. But he spelled out his loyalty to his old hometown in a September interview with hip-hop blog Passion of the Weiss: "I lived 85% of my life in St. Louis, so definitely, I got St. Louis on my back right now." When it came time for Smino to drop his debut album, Blkswn, he picked a date strategically: Tuesday, March 14. The telephone area code for Saint Louis, not at all by coincidence, is 314.

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Lollapalooza 2017 lineup: Chance the Rapper takes a victory lap with a bunch of predictable acts

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 11:32 AM

Can Chance the Rapper save a lackluster Lollapalooza lineup? - ASHLEE REZIN/SUN-TIMES
  • Can Chance the Rapper save a lackluster Lollapalooza lineup?

Chance the Rapper is on top of the bill for this year's Lollapalooza, which announced its lineup at 6 AM. It's the latest part of the victory lap for the Chicago music hero, after-school educator, and Chicago Public Schools advocate since he won three Grammys for his Coloring Book mixtape last month. Few things say cultural domination like headlining the largest music festival in your own hometown. Not that Chance has much competition. The other headliners suggest Lollapalooza organizers are struggling with 2000s alternative-rock nostalgia; the Killers, Muse, and Arcade Fire fill out the rest of the headlining spots. All three acts have performed at Lollapalooza twice previously since the festival transitioned from a nationwide tour to settle in Grant Park back in 2005 (this year is also Chance's third go-round too). None of the top rock acts scream excitement, and the Killers in particular suggest nothing more than irrelevance. The Las Vegas band hasn't put out a proper album in five years, unless you can call their 2016 Christmas compilation Don't Waste Your Wishes a worthwhile endeavor.

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Enjoyed Get Out? Try The Belko Experiment and Raw.

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 10:00 AM

The Belko Experiment
  • The Belko Experiment

The whopping success of Jordan Peele's Get Out has demonstrated that general audiences can appreciate horror movies for their subtext. A thinly veiled commentary on American race relations, Get Out uses the horror genre to dramatize fears about the persecution of African-Americans and the suppression of black identity. Audiences seem to get this (given the film's courageous forthrightness, it would be surprising if they didn't), as evidenced by the serious discussions of race that the film has provoked across media and social media alike. In its subversion of genre and its effectiveness as provocation, Get Out feels like a truer heir to Bill Gunn's great Ganja and Hess (1973) than Spike Lee's overly reverent remake Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014) did. The difference, perhaps, is that Lee regarded horror primarily as a vehicle to pay tribute to Gunn, whereas Peele respects the genre and uses it to address contemporary anxieties.

Another difference may be that Lee made Jesus entirely independently (he produced it through crowd-funding) while Peele worked with producer Jason Blum, one of the most valuable forces in American genre cinema today. In the past several years, Blum's company Blumhouse Productions has fostered a steady supply of smart, subtext-rich horror films that speak to the dark side of the American experience. (The studio has also produced its share of junk, but at least none of it has been intentionally kitschy or gory for the sake of being gory.) James DeMonaco's brilliant Purge series remains the company's finest output, though Blumhouse is also responsible for such notable provocations as Sinister, Oculus, Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem, Unfriended, and the current release The Belko Experiment. Although overshadowed by Get Out, Belko is one of the studio's finest films and as worthy a piece of social commentary as Peele's.

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Bethany Thomas brings her first original songs from the stage to the studio

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 08:00 AM

Bethany Thomas - PHOTO BY AUSTIN D. OIE
  • Photo by Austin D. Oie
  • Bethany Thomas

For the past decade, Bethany Thomas has been a fixture in the Chicago music and theater scenes. She's appeared at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Second City, Court Theatre, and Writers Theatre, among others, and she won a 2013 Jeff Award for a role in South Pacific. As a musician she's played almost every major venue in the city (including shows with Robbie Fulks and Jon Langford), and she's also a regularly featured artist at the Paper Machete and Salonathon.

One thing she hasn't done—at least not till now—is make a recording of her own. On Monday at the Hideout, Thomas celebrates the release of her debut, a six-song EP called First.

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Switch on with the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 07:00 AM


ARTIST: Dave Sagan
SHOW: Chris Dertz & the River, Arizona Landmine, Retirement Party, Vaya, and Coaster at Beat Kitchen on Thu 3/30

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Report: More possible lobbying violations found in Mayor Emanuel's personal e-mails, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 03.22.17 at 06:00 AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during the graduation ceremony for new police officers March 15. - AFP PHOTO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
  • AFP PHOTO/AFP/Getty Images
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during the graduation ceremony for new police officers March 15.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Wednesday, March 22, 2017. 

  • Report: More lobbying violations possibly found in Mayor Emanuel's personal e-mails

An analysis of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's e-mails by the Chicago Tribune found that his personal accounts "served as a private avenue of influence where executives and investors sought favorable action from City Hall raising questions about whether some of the messages crossed the line into lobbying and violated the city's ethics law," according to the paper. The Trib found 26 possible instances of people not registered as lobbyists asking for something from the mayor in private e-mails, from Airbnb officials "pushing back against City Hall home rental regulations and American Airlines executives asking for Emanuel's support in Washington for a corporate merger to United Airlines negotiating on expansions at O'Hare International Airport." Adam Collins, a spokesman for the mayor, brushed off the issue. "Like every other public official, people routinely ask the mayor questions, give him ideas and provide input all day, every day," Collins said. "Ministers and mentors, business owners big and small, parents and residents across the city do it by email, at events, on the train, at the grocery store and at just about every other place." [Tribune]

  • Police search for men who allegedly gang-raped teen girl on Facebook Live

The Chicago Police Department is searching for a group of men who allegedly sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl and streamed it on Facebook Live, according to USA Today. One suspect is in custody, and police believe the  attackers are minors who knew the victim, alderman Michael Scott Jr. told the Sun-Times. Law enforcement found the girl Tuesday, after she had been missing for a couple of days. The attack was drawn to the police's attention when the girl's mother approached Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson with screen shots of the assault Monday. "The superintendent was visibly upset when he saw the pictures of the girl and was dismayed when he learned that people were watching the incident live and no one called police," spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. [USA Today] [Sun-Times]

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