Bleader | Chicago Reader

Monday, July 31, 2017

Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby, Megan Stielstra’s book launch party, and more of the best things to do this week

Posted By on 07.31.17 at 02:09 PM

click image The Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby, on Thursday 8/3 at the Wrigley Building Plaza, benefits Special Olympics Illinois. - DAVID DENNIS
  • David Dennis
  • The Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby, on Thursday 8/3 at the Wrigley Building Plaza, benefits Special Olympics Illinois.

Lollapalooza is just around the corner, but this week is just as packed as a Grant Park porta-potty line. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Chicago producer Mulatto Beats does the best work on his new album with his old friend Qari

Posted By on 07.31.17 at 12:00 PM

Qari and Mulatto Beats - BRYAN ALLEN LAMB
  • Bryan Allen Lamb
  • Qari and Mulatto Beats

The new debut album from Chicago producer Mulatto Beats, .22 Summers, includes a somnambulant track called "Good to Lose," where rapper Qari says, "I'm not relaxin', I'm just practicin' my style." He lets his words tumble out easily, during a pause between verses; like the best of his rapping, it feels ad libbed, whether or not he spent hours figuring out when and how to say it. And the line fits not just the mood of "Good to Lose" but his work with Mulatto Beats in general—and there's a lot of it. They've been collaborating steadily for about six years: first in Supreme Regime, then in Hurt Everybody, and now that both those groups are defunct, just as themselves.

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Rahm: Trump never revealed the name of the cop who claimed to be able to solve Chicago's gun violence issues ‘in a couple of days,’ and other news

Posted By on 07.31.17 at 09:24 AM

Police officers look on as President Donald Trump speaks in New York in July. - PHOTO BY SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES
  • Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Police officers look on as President Donald Trump speaks in New York in July.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, July 31, 2017.

  • Rahm: Trump has never revealed the name of mystery cop who can solve Chicago's gun violence issues in "a couple of days"

President Donald Trump has never given Mayor Rahm Emanuel the name of the "rough cookie" cop who Trump says gave him his business card and bragged that if given the authority, he could solve the city's gun violence problems in "a couple of days," according to Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins. Trump repeated the story Friday to a group of cops in Long Island, claiming to have had the encounter while campaigning in the city in 2016. "I said, 'You've gotta be kidding. . . . Give me your card.' And he gave me a card," the president said in the speech. "And I sent it to the mayor. I said, 'You ought to try using this guy.' Guess what happened? Never heard. And last week they had another record. It's horrible." No such card ever arrived, Collins says, and the Chicago Police Department was "unable to identify any department member who had a conversation with then-candidate Trump," according to CPD spokesman Frank Giancamilli. [Tribune]

  • After judge's final ruling, Cook County soda tax will go into effect Wednesday

Cook County judge Daniel Kubasiak lifted his ban on the sweetened beverage tax, allowing the penny-per-ounce surcharge to go into effect Wednesday in Cook County. The delay cost the county $17 million in lost revenue, according to Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle. "We believed all along that our ordinance was carefully drafted and met pertinent constitutional tests," she said in a statement. [DNAinfo Chicago   ]

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Take a stroll around Woodfield Mall circa 1982

Posted By on 07.28.17 at 08:13 PM

Woodfield Mall
  • Woodfield Mall

The New York Times published a story yesterday called "An Ode to Shopping Malls," about a 40-year-old filmmaker named Dan Bell who's documenting "the most depressed shopping malls in the mid-Atlantic region and beyond" in what he's titled the "Dead Mall Series." Bell's YouTube videos, the Times's Steven Kurutz writes, "offer an unsettling visual document of the retail apocalypse that changing consumer habits, e-commerce and economic disparity have wrought."

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Tour de Fat, Wicker Park Fest, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 07.28.17 at 02:49 PM

click image Arrive at Northerly Island for the Tour de Fat for plenty of beer and biking Saturday 7/29. - TODD DWYER
  • Todd Dwyer
  • Arrive at Northerly Island for the Tour de Fat for plenty of beer and biking Saturday 7/29.

An MMA fighter-turned-comedian tapes his podcast live, Guided By Voices rocks Wicker Park Fest—and there are many more events happing this weekend:

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RIP George A. Romero, whose Martin remains a masterpiece of independent filmmaking

Posted By on 07.28.17 at 02:30 PM

John Amplas in Martin
  • John Amplas in Martin
To memorialize the passing of George A. Romero (who died last week at the age of 77), I recently rewatched my favorite film of his, the 1978 vampire story Martin. The movie remains an object lesson in how to make the most of a low budget, but more importantly it's a deeply emotional work, perhaps the most emotional in Romero's career.

Martin showcases the writer-director's talent for cultural observation and his ability to elicit memorable performances from relatively unknown actors. It also provides an affecting document of a particular time and place: working-class Pittsburgh during the 1970s recession. Another thing that makes Martin so special is the way the horror elements intertwine with the social portrait—the theme of vampirism serves to bolster the themes of longing and loss. It confirms that Romero was one of the most sympathetic American filmmakers, in addition to being a great horror maestro.

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Italian-born improvising percussionist Carlo Costa focuses on friction

Posted By on 07.28.17 at 02:00 PM

  • Peter Gannushkin
  • Carlo Costa

Italian-born percussionist Carlo Costa has lived in New York since 2005, where he's enriched a variety of jazz-oriented projects with his turbulent, fascinating sense of propulsion. He's also developed another distinctive aesthetic, which for few years now he's showcased via his own Neither/Nor label, which releases Costa's music and that of his close collaborators: it's a texture-first approach, rooted in a strong improvisational ethos. Friction has a home at Neither/Nor.

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Why Chicago police reform may be decided by one person behind closed doors

Posted By on 07.28.17 at 01:15 PM

Chicago police officers at a graduation and promotion ceremony in June 2017 - SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES
  • Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • Chicago police officers at a graduation and promotion ceremony in June 2017

The term of the latest contract between the city of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, the union that represents some 12,000 rank-and-file officers in the Chicago Police Department, expired on June 30. The city and the union are now supposed to be negotiating the next contract, but because the process is confidential it's impossible to say where these negotiations currently stand. Until a new contract is agreed upon and ratified, first by the FOP membership and then by the City Council, the terms of the previous contract remain in force.

Police reform advocates have for years pointed to Lodge 7's contract as a major barrier to enacting lasting changes. Enshrined in the contract are provisions they say ultimately protect bad cops, cost the city millions of dollars, and institutionalize the code of silence. It's the contract that stipulates that anyone filing complaints about officers must sign an affidavit before an investigation can proceed, grants officers the right to review evidence against them before giving statements in misconduct investigations, and mandates the destruction of officers' disciplinary records.

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Emanuel won't allow the Cubs to play more night games at Wrigley, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 07.28.17 at 06:00 AM

The Chicago Cubs play the Saint Louis Cardinals during a night game at Wrigley Field. - PHOTO BY JON DURR/GETTY IMAGES
  • Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images
  • The Chicago Cubs play the Saint Louis Cardinals during a night game at Wrigley Field.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, July 28, 2017.

  • Emanuel won't allow the Cubs to play more night games at Wrigley

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has denied the Chicago Cubs' request to play more night games at Wrigley Field. Crane Kenney, the team's president of business operations, asked for permission to play 54 night games, as do most other MLB teams. Emanuel held firm, saying it was the team's fault: the Cubs had decided to offer more concerts at the field in place of night games and now must "live with the consequences." The team had been given "evening opportunities" they could have used for night games, the mayor said, "but then they would have to share [profits] with Major League Baseball. The concert [profits] they keep all for themselves like they do the beer on the plaza." [Sun-Times]

  • Democratic Governors Association: Rauner is "extremely vulnerable"

Governor Bruce Rauner is "extremely vulnerable" in the 2018 gubernatorial race, according to the Democratic Governors Association. The organization commissioned a new poll of Illinois residents that found "every measure of [the incumbent Republican's] political support below 40 percent." According to the Sun-Times, Rauner's overall positive job rating totaled 34 percent, with 63 percent saying he has a done a 'poor' or 'not so good' job." [Sun-Times]

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

‘Good Vibrations’ brings positivity and inclusiveness to the local art scene

Posted By on 07.27.17 at 04:48 PM

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

  • Isa Giallorenzo

Jean Wilson, pictured above, was photographed during the opening of "Good Vibrations," an exhibit taking place at the Arts of Life, a nonprofit dedicated to providing arts education to adults with developmental disabilities. Wilson was sporting her spirit animal on her hat and necklace: "I'm a wolf at night," she says. "When the full moon comes out, I howl at it." Mixing a leopard-print hat with a blush-pink dress and glittery shoes that light up, she looked both festive and fierce. She was standing next to works by Tim Stone and Leslie Baum, two of the six artists featured at the show, cocurated by Wilson and Arts of Life executive board member Andrew Rafacz.

"Good Vibrations"—which closes tomorrow, July 28—has the common theme of abstraction with vibrant colors and patterns. "All of the artists included strive, in their own respective ways, for positivity and energy in the face of an adverse, sometimes reductive, world," says Arts of Life art director Vincent Uribe. Saturday from 5 to 8 PM the nonprofit hosts a fund-raiser and rooftop party at the Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake; $50 includes hors d'oeuvres, Revolution beer, drinks, and dessert). And next Friday, August 4, at 5 PM Arts of Life will hold an art sale and block party at its studio in West Town (2010 W. Carroll); it's free and features Finch Beer and Miko's Italian Ice. More info at

See more stylish attendees below.

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
March 21
Performing Arts
March 22

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