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

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Beatnik’s cocktails provide an international vacation in a glass in West Town

Posted By on 11.30.17 at 05:23 PM

COURTESY BEATNIK
  • Courtesy Beatnik

It's hard to know where to look first at Beatnik. Even on a Tuesday night the West Town bar and restaurant thrums with activity, nearly every seat filled. Lavish crystal chandeliers hang in the dining room and the covered courtyard, elaborately carved teak dominates one wall, and there's tile everywhere, with an array of geometric patterns competing for attention. Plants dominate the space, making it feel like a greenhouse almost as much as a restaurant. The overall effect is more opulent than bohemian, but faded rugs and exposed-brick walls temper the elegance a bit.

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Tasting Collective aims to bring a ‘human connection’ to restaurant dining in Chicago

Posted By on 11.30.17 at 04:18 PM

During Tasting Collective meals, the host chefs talk about their background, influences, and the dishes they’re serving.
  • During Tasting Collective meals, the host chefs talk about their background, influences, and the dishes they’re serving.

Nat Gelb grew up in a house off a dirt road in a tiny town in upstate New York. "Really off the grid," he says. His family never went to restaurants; his parents cooked all their food. When he moved to New York City, he says, "I was blown away by all the amazing restaurants, but I missed being able to form a human connection to the people who were making the food I was eating." 

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Horace Mann Elementary’s Marching Mustangs don’t need 76 trombones, just three trumpets (and a few other instruments too)

Posted By on 11.30.17 at 08:00 AM

A triumphant moment for the Marching Mustangs - TRISTAN BROWN
  • Tristan Brown
  • A triumphant moment for the Marching Mustangs

Giving Tuesday is over, but if you've still got a few dollars to spend, you could do worse than donating them to the kids at Horace Mann Elementary School in the South Chicago neighborhood. They're trying to raise money for more instruments and supplies for their school band, the Marching Mustangs.

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Emanuel blames the CTA fare hike on state funding cuts, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 11.30.17 at 06:00 AM

A Green Line train heads west from downtown Chicago. - AP PHOTO/CHARLES REX ARBOGAST
  • AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
  • A Green Line train heads west from downtown Chicago.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, November 30, 2017.

  • Emanuel is blaming the CTA fare hike on state funding cuts

The Chicago Transit Authority's 25-cent fare hike is a "balanced approach to make up for the state's failure" to fund the CTA, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Illinois cut the CTA's budget by $33 million in its long-awaited budget, and Emanuel said he refuses to cut service to make up for it. "There will be no cuts anywhere in any services. Two, there had to be cuts to the central office. And there were enough cuts to the central office to match the fare increase, dollar-for-dollar. And third, the budget today at CTA is . . . $9.7 million less than the budget in the prior years," Emanuel said Wednesday. It's the CTA's first fare hike in eight years. [Sun-Times]

  • Chicago takes another step in the O'Hare express-train journey

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's dream of an express train from downtown to O'Hare International Airport is one step closer. Emanuel is issuing a request for qualifications "for respondents to offer their credentials to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an express service through a public-private partnership with Chicago," according to the Tribune. "Express service to and from O'Hare will give Chicagoans and visitors to our great city more options, faster travel time, and build on Chicago's competitive advantage as a global hub of tourism, transportation and trade," the mayor said in a statement. The project could cost between $1 to $3 billion. [Tribune]

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Links Hall turns trading post for a festival of artistic exchange

Posted By on 11.29.17 at 05:00 PM

J'Sun Howard and Brother(hood) Dance! - COURTESY LINKS HALL
  • Courtesy Links Hall
  • J'Sun Howard and Brother(hood) Dance!

Giving artists a place to experiment and refine their craft is at the core of Links Hall's mission, and the organization likewise recognizes the value of dialogue between different artists and audiences. In the past, Links has annually spotlighted a noteworthy work from a local artist who chooses an out-of-town creator for a shared presentation at Links Hall that then travels to the visitor's homework.

This tradition expands considerably with Trade Routes, which features five different pairings put together for a festival running from November 30 to December 9. "This way the locals and out-of-towners would be able to see more of each other's work and Chicago audiences could see work from all over the city and all over the country in one ten-day period," says Links Hall director Roell Schmidt. Some of these pairings include dance maker and poet J'Sun Howard with New York City's Brother(hood) Dance! and Myra Su with Cincinnati's Emily Schubert, two multimedia puppet storytellers who met at last year's National Puppet Slam in Atlanta.

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The Old Town School turns 60 and celebrates with a podcast

Posted By on 11.29.17 at 04:02 PM

Old Town School cofounders Frank Hamilton (left) and Win Stracke perform at its opening night, December 1, 1957. - ARCHIVAL PHOTO
  • Archival photo
  • Old Town School cofounders Frank Hamilton (left) and Win Stracke perform at its opening night, December 1, 1957.

The Old Town School of Folk Music turns 60 years old on December 1. That's 60 years of music classes and sing-alongs—and most important, thousands and thousands of characters who've passed through its various doors, at its original location on North Avenue and its current spaces on Lincoln and on Armitage. The school has also amassed an impressive collection of books and recordings in its basement Resource Center.

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How Gene Siskel Film Center will screen movies while they’re closed for renovations

Posted By on 11.29.17 at 02:30 PM

The Film Center will present Arturo Ripstein's Time to Die at the Instituto Cervantes on Monday.
  • The Film Center will present Arturo Ripstein's Time to Die at the Instituto Cervantes on Monday.

Starting Friday, the Gene Siskel Film Center will close its doors for a month to renovate its two theaters. This effort marks the organization's first extensive renovation since it started operating at its State Street location in 2001. All the seats in the two theaters will be replaced, as will the wiring; the latter renovation is to improve hearing for patrons with cochlear implants. The carpeting between the two theaters will also be replaced. Per executive director Jean de St. Aubin, these changes won't impact the Film Center's ticket prices, which will remain $11 for general admission, $7 for students and children, $6 for Film Center members, and $5 Art Institute of Chicago staff and SAIC faculty, staff and students when the theaters reopen on January 5.

The Film Center is still showing movies in December. During the next two weeks, they'll present repeat screenings of films shown earlier in the year at four partnering locations. The tonal, stylistic, and geographic range of the selections speak to the diversity of the Film Center's programming, which showcases a broad range of perspectives all year. Between such annual events as the Black Harvest Film Festival, a showcase of movies from Iran, and the Palestinian film series (not to mention the ongoing Panorama Latinx series, devoted to movies from all over the Spanish-speaking world), the Film Center is also a center of multicultural interaction. I believe my understanding of the world has been enriched by attending the works they present.

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There are a bunch of festive critters on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 11.29.17 at 11:30 AM

24172511_10155032471566269_1060782670_n.jpg

ARTIST:
Jason W. Frederick
SHOW: Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas on Sun 12/10
MORE INFO: jwfrederick.com

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Luis Gutierrez won't run for Congress again, endorses Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia to succeed him, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 11.29.17 at 07:00 AM

Congressman Luis Gutierrez speaks in support of Dreamers during a rally at the Capitol in October. - AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE
  • AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
  • Congressman Luis Gutierrez speaks in support of Dreamers during a rally at the Capitol in October.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Wednesday, November 29, 2017.

  • Gutierrez won't run for Congress again, endorses "Chuy" Garcia to succeed him

U.S. representative Luis Gutierrez won't run for reelection to Congress and is endorsing Cook County commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia to succeed him. Gutierrez says he's not retiring and will continue to work on the issues he's passionate about: immigration, Puerto Rico relief, and social justice. "I'm not going to rule out any future office," he said Tuesday. "I'm not leaving. I want to engage." He chose former mayoral candidate Garcia because he'll be a "champion" for the same issues and will do a "good, incredible job" in Congress. "We must never allow fear and oppression to catch fire and guide our nation," Garcia said at the announcement. "We stand at a crossroads." [Sun-Times]

  • Dorm without heat, hot water forces Chicago State University students to stay in hotels

Many Chicago State University students are being housed in hotels after a pipe burst, leaving a dorm and the student union without heat or hot water. "When it became clear that heat and hot water would not be working in either the Residence Hall or the Student Union building, we immediately made plans to provide our residential students with warm, safe accommodations," interim CSU president Rachel Lindsey said in a statement. "Because this occurred over the weekend, we were able to ensure that students did not lose any class time." [Tribune]

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A lost 1976 album from Brazilian musical polymath Hermeto Pascoal finally surfaces

Posted By on 11.28.17 at 01:15 PM

Hermeto Pascoal - GABRIEL QUINTÃO
  • Gabriel Quintão
  • Hermeto Pascoal

There's no one in the world quite like Brazilian polymath Hermeto Pascoal, who at 81 continues to produce music in a world all his own. Since the 1970s, when he traveled to the U.S. and worked briefly with Miles Davis—he appears on the classic 1971 album Live-Evil—he's pursued a feverish hybrid of frantic jazz fusion, Brazilian folk, and outward-bound exploration akin to that of Sun Ra's Arkestra (though without the extraterrestrial themes). He's still making worthwhile music, but his finest accomplishments date from the 70s and 80s, which makes the surprise appearance of Viajando Com o Som: The Lost '76 Vice-Versa Studio Session (Far Out) an event worth noting.

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