Bleader | Chicago Reader

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Reader helped you survive Bob Greene, and it will help you survive the super blue blood moon

Posted By on 01.30.18 at 09:19 AM

That face. . . Didn't you just want to punch it and knock the toupee clean off? - JANET HEINTZ
  • Janet Heintz
  • That face. . . Didn't you just want to punch it and knock the toupee clean off?

The Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

The thing that made me fall in love with the Reader way back in my bright college years of the mid-90s—1995 and 1996, to be precise—was the monthly "Bobwatch" column. Its tagline was "We read him so you don't have to," which pretty much said it all, but at the same time conveyed so little of the column's brilliance: how expertly the pseudonymous Ed Gold tore apart Bob Greene's daily columns on the front page of the Tribune's Tempo section, the detail and incisiveness with which he analyzed what made Greene so awful.

Gold delivered a mission statement of sorts in his inaugural column on January 26, 1995:
We pick up [Greene's] column with a tingle of anticipation—how awful will it be? Will he content himself with another effortless sputtering of baby talk, lavished over one of his pitiful handful of themes and interests? Or will he reach some new benchmark of idiocy?
Over the next two years, he would pick out every bit of sentimentality and sanctimony and skewer it mercilessly and brilliantly in a way that most of us (especially if we were still college students slogging away at the campus daily) could only aspire to.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Jeanne Ives says Bruce Rauner has ‘betrayed’ Republicans, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 01.29.18 at 10:21 PM

Governor Bruce Rauner and state rep Jeanne Ives, his challenger in the Republican primary, meet with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board at Tribune Tower. - JOSE M. OSORIO/CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA AP
  • Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune via AP
  • Governor Bruce Rauner and state rep Jeanne Ives, his challenger in the Republican primary, meet with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board at Tribune Tower.

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news briefing.

  • Jeanne Ives: Bruce Rauner has "betrayed" Republicans

Governor Bruce Rauner and his Republican challenger, state representative Jeanne Ives, faced off in a heated forum before the Tribune editorial board Monday, which might have been their only in-person conversation during the GOP primary race for governor. Ives, who's running against Rauner from the right, questioned Rauner's ability to stand up to Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan and his support for a law that pays for state workers' abortions. "He's never going to have a chance," Ives said. "Republicans across the state don't trust him. He's betrayed everything that we stand for." Rauner called his nemesis Madigan a "crook."  "He doesn't care about policy. For him it's all about power and money," Rauner said. "Madigan is all about power and political positioning, not policy." [Tribune]

  • Durbin bringing a local medical student "Dreamer" to the State of the Union address

Senator Dick Durbin is bringing a Loyola University Chicago medical student who's also a "Dreamer" to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. Cesar Montelongo Hernandez, a beneficiary of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, will attend the speech with Durbin Monday evening. "This young person who is going to be my guest runs the risk of seeing an end to their medical education because of the end of DACA. They won't be able to pursue a residency at any hospital" Durbin said. "So we'll lose a doctor. For what? For what?" Durbin decided against boycotting the speech, unlike some of his fellow Democrats, because he wants to be part of a "good bipartisan answer" to the immigration debate. [Sun-Times]

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Why renters should care about the Cook County assessor's race

Posted By on 01.29.18 at 06:43 PM

  • Rich Hein/Sun-Times
  • Fritz Kaegi

In a recurring feature, the Reader will conduct 15-minute interviews with candidates running for city, county, state, and federal offices that represent Illinois. First up: Fritz Kaegi, a candidate in the Cook County assessor's race.

Former investment analyst Fritz Kaegi is running a largely self-funded campaign for Cook County assessor on a progressive platform against the embattled incumbent, Joseph Berrios. A recent series of investigations by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois revealed that under Berrios property tax assessments in Cook County have been grossly unfair, resulting in higher property tax bills for lower-income homeowners and small businesses. Meanwhile, Berrios has received millions in campaign contributions from law firms that represent the wealthiest individuals and businesses seeking to lower their property taxes.

While on a break from phone-banking recently, Kaegi—a 46-year-old Hyde Park native who now resides in Oak Park—spoke about how working in finance in Russia fueled his commitment to Chicago, why renters should also care about property taxes, and what he's learned about power and machine politics while campaigning against Berrios.

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Five must-see heist films

Posted By on 01.29.18 at 04:00 PM

Sterling Hayden in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing
  • Sterling Hayden in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing

Starting this week, we present a biweekly list inspired by a film screening or series taking place around town. In honor of Benny and Josh Safdie’s new heist film
Good Time, screening this week at Music Box (in 35mm!), we've selected five additional heist films from 1955 to 2005 (that don't have "Ocean" in the title and aren't directed by Quentin Tarantino).

It's one of the enduring mysteries of the Hollywood blacklist that directors such as Joseph Losey and Cy Endfield had to hide behind fronts or pseudonyms, whereas Jules Dassin was able to direct this atmospheric 1955 French thriller under his own name and still get it shown in the U.S., where it was something of an art-house hit. (Oddly, as a cast member he uses the name “Perlo Vita.”) Shot in Paris and its environs and adapted from an Auguste le Breton novel with the author's assistance, this is a familiar but effective parable of honor among thieves, and though it may not be as ideologically meaningful as the juicy noirs Dassin made for Hollywood—The Naked City (1947), Thieves' Highway (1949), and Night and the City (1950)—it's probably more influential, above all for its half-hour sequence without dialogue that meticulously shows the whole process of an elaborate jewelry heist. With Jean Servais, Carl Mohner, and Robert Manuel. In French with subtitles. 118 min. —Jonathan Rosenbaum

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The Gold Web bring their psychedelic onstage frenzy to the small screen with ‘The Emperor’

Posted By on 01.29.18 at 03:45 PM

  • Image from the Gold Web's Facebook page
  • The Gold Web and friends

In the Reader's 2015 Best of Chicago issue, Sasha Geffen declared glam-rock group the Gold Web the "best onstage psychedelic costume party." In case you haven't had the pleasure of seeing the band's menagerie of outfits and props in person, this month they released a video for "The Emperor," the glittery, swooning lead single from their brand-new third album, Acidchrist Superspice & the Candyboys.

The riotously colorful clip is pretty hard to sum up—it's not like there's a narrative to follow—but you get to see women smearing cake on their faces, front man Max Perenchio (aka the Silver Wizard) chased across the screen by a string of time-delayed duplicates of himself as he tickles his guitar, and somebody in wings, an eyepatch, and a leopard-print bodysuit smashing a watermelon with a huge hammer. Often the background is swapped out via green screen for the goopy flow of a liquid light show—you know, that classic psych-band stage projection that looks like Falkor the Luckdragon just vomited the contents of a lava lamp.

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John Mulaney at the Chicago Theatre, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 01.29.18 at 02:18 PM

John Mulaney performs at Chicago Theater Tue 1/30-Sat 2/3
  • John Mulaney performs at Chicago Theater Tue 1/30-Sat 2/3
Yep, it's snowing and cold again, but there's plenty to do this week. Indoors even! Here's some of what we recommend:

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Watch a Beacon Tavern chef make eggplant cake for a sweet-savory dessert

Posted By on 01.29.18 at 10:00 AM

Botanically, the eggplant is a berry, but culinarily it resides firmly in vegetable territory. That makes it challenging to incorporate into a dessert, says Beacon Tavern pastry chef Kevin McCormick, who was tasked with just that by Kymberli DeLost (the Gage, Acanto, the Dawson). "It doesn't have a lot of flavor on its own, but you can manipulate it in a million different ways," McCormick says. "Every manipulation gives us a different quality of the eggplant itself."

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The Post is a Happy Days for old journalists

Posted By on 01.29.18 at 09:53 AM

The Post
  • The Post
Spotlight, the Oscar-winning movie of two years ago, made me feel proud to be a journalist. The Post, which I finally saw over the weekend, reminded me how much fun the business is. Or at least was once upon a time. I'm pretty sure it still has its moments.

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Here's why it's now illegal to impersonate a firefighter in the state of Illinois

Posted By on 01.29.18 at 08:00 AM

  • The Lost Creek Fire Company truck

The Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

Until 2005, it was not illegal in the state of Illinois to impersonate a firefighter. And so a band of men in Lake County, led by a former volunteer in the county sheriff's reserve deputy unit, purchased an old fire truck and incorporated themselves as the Lost Creek Fire Company. They appeared in parades. Then they actually went out to fight a fire. And that's when their troubles began. And why it's now illegal to impersonate a firefighter. Mike Sula told the whole crazy story in "Playing Fireman."

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Rauner reaches a compromise with officials on school funding ahead of State of the State address, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 01.29.18 at 12:17 AM

Governor Bruce Rauner - AP PHOTO/G-JUN YAM
  • AP Photo/G-Jun Yam
  • Governor Bruce Rauner

Welcome to the Reader's weekday news brief.

  • Rauner reaches a compromise with officials on school funding

State education officials have reached a compromise with Governor Bruce Rauner that "will allow more schools to participate in a newly created scholarship program that is designed to help more students afford the costs of attending private and parochial schools," according to the State Journal-Register.  Rauner's office announced the compromise just days before his reelection year State of State address Wednesday. Experts believe it will be a tough speech for Rauner to deliver because much of the agenda he ran on has not been implemented. "I think it's a difficult speech because of the fact that he clearly presented himself as being able to overwhelm the opposition and the resistance to his agenda," Kent Redfield, a retired political science professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, said. [State Journal-Register]

  • What possible Emanuel challenger Paul Vallas could bring to the table in 2019

Speculation has grown that former Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Paul Vallas will challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the 2019 mayoral race. The former candidate for governor and lieutenant governor has helped turn around several urban school districts and  served as the city's budget director for three years. He's resigning from his current position as Chicago State University chief administrative officer in March, which has fueled even more speculation that he'll become the most formidable Emanuel challenger. "I am very, very serious about running, and I'll make a determination if there's the support for it in the next 60 days," Vallas said in an interview Friday. "And then I'll be more than prepared to be very specific about what I'd like to do and what I'd hope to accomplish as mayor." [Tribune]

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