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

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

When craft beer went corporate: Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out tells how Goose Island's sale transformed an industry

Posted By on 05.29.18 at 06:00 AM

Josh Noel's book Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business, from Chicago Review Press
  • Josh Noel's book Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business, from Chicago Review Press

"There wasn't a single moment when the chummy, jovial craft beer industry became a battlefield of 'us versus them,'" Josh Noel writes in Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business (Chicago Review Press). "It happened slowly. And then, seemingly, all at once."

The line isn't an introduction to his subject matter (it actually comes near the end of the book), but it does encapsulate it fairly neatly. Noel happens to be discussing the attempts of the Brewers Association to define craft beer—which has become an increasingly thorny question as more craft breweries have been bought by global beverage companies (often referred to as Big Beer). In the early years of the craft brewing renaissance, he says, the term was never really defined. "Craft beer was the underdog. It was flavor. It was creativity. It was peace, love, and collaboration. Everyone was included—except for Big Beer. There were no wrong answers. But when there are no wrong answers, there are no right answers, and the Brewers Association sought to correct that."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Friday, May 25, 2018

Photos celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in Chicago

Posted By on 05.25.18 at 11:34 AM


May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, established by Congress in 1992 in recognition of the nation's Asians and Pacific Islanders. According to the U.S. Census, as of 2017, 6.1 percent of Chicago's population was Asian, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander, making it the city's fifth-largest demographic. And according to the U. of C.'s Center for Asian Health Equity, as of 2014, 80% of the Asian-Americans in Illinois resided in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Here are just a few photos from the many local celebrations of Asian- and Pacific-American heritage and culture this month. The category encompasses more than 50 ethnic groups, so this post doesn't pretend to fully capture them; see Related Stories for more.

Newest fashion trend of 2018: Dumplings are DILL-icious tees.

A post shared by Dill Magazine (@dillmagazine) on

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month kick off #aahm

A post shared by Yvonne Lu (@yvonnelu) on

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

McDonald’s new West Loop HQ is ‘perfect’ location for protesters to get their messages out

Posted By on 05.25.18 at 06:00 AM

Protesters held a faux ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the building in the former Harpo Studios space at 110 N. Carpenter, which they labelled the "Headquarters of Cruelty." - RYAN SMITH
  • Ryan Smith
  • Protesters held a faux ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the building in the former Harpo Studios space at 110 N. Carpenter, which they labelled the "Headquarters of Cruelty."

Two separate protest groups lined the sidewalk outside of McDonald's new West Loop headquarters at 11 AM Thursday—the day of the fast-food giant's annual shareholders' meeting.

As a handful of Chicago cops and a cluster of curious pedestrians watched from behind temporary metal barriers placed in front of the 6,000-square-foot flagship restaurant and corporate offices on Randolph Street, ten people representing the grassroots Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund demanded that the company use antibiotics-free beef.

Meanwhile, 15 members of various animal rights groups and volunteers (one dressed as a creepy Ronald McDonald and another in a diseased chicken costume) rallied to complain about the fast-food chain's suppliers' treatment of its poultry. At noon they held a faux ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of a Golden Arches-shaped installation of yellow balloons covered in fake blood to christen the massive nine-story building at 110 N. Carpenter as the "Headquarters of Cruelty."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

That time a Cook County judge ruled on the case of a man he himself put in prison when he was still a prosecutor

Posted By on 05.25.18 at 06:00 AM

A courtroom sketch of Judge Nicholas Ford presiding over bond court in 2002 - AP PHOTO/CAROL RENAUD
  • AP Photo/Carol Renaud
  • A courtroom sketch of Judge Nicholas Ford presiding over bond court in 2002

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.

Who are our judges? Supposedly impartial, neutral third parties, making unbiased decisions about matters both grave and frivolous. We imagine them to be even-keeled individuals, perhaps with some personal quirks, who keep their biases out of the cases they rule on. But that's just fantasy. The judges who staff our criminal and civil courts are elected by voters who usually pick them based on nothing more than the sound of their names. Or they're appointed by their colleagues. And those who ascend to the Cook County bench are lawyers who often have long histories as prosecutors or defense attorneys. Before that they may have been cops.

Jon Burge is somewhere in Florida, enjoying his boat and CPD pension as the city continues to pay out multimillion dollar settlements to his victims. But some of the Cook County prosecutors who convicted people based on confessions he and his buddies tortured out of them are still around. Some of them are judges now.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Memorial Day Parade and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 05.25.18 at 06:00 AM

Don't miss Chicago's annual Memorial Day Parade 5/28.
  • Don't miss Chicago's annual Memorial Day Parade 5/28.
There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this weekend, including Memorial Day. Here's some of what we recommend:

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Why did Carlos Ramirez-Rosa get kicked out of the City Council’s Latino Caucus?

Posted By on 05.24.18 at 05:00 PM

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward alderman - JEFFREY MARINI
  • Jeffrey Marini
  • Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward alderman

At one time or another over the years, the City Council's been inhabited by drunks, philanderers, cokeheads, bribe takers, wire wearers, and various other miscreants of every race, creed, and color. But in all those years no alderman's been exiled from his own brood—until now.

On Wednesday, without fanfare or warning, the council's Latino Caucus voted to boot Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa from its ranks. He still gets to represent the 35th Ward—hey, the caucus doesn't have that much clout. It's just its way of letting him know he's out of the club.

"The knives are out," says Ramirez-Rosa. "Without notice, they voted to expel me. Never even a warning."

There are two explanations for his removal. The members of the Latino Caucus say he was bounced because—well, you can read their statement: "We have repeatedly informed Aldermen [sic] Rosa that the mission of the caucus is representing the best interests of Latino community and that the only way to accomplish this is to have robust partners that participate in the caucus' initiatives. After two years in office, he refused to engage our caucus in a meaningful way so that we could do the important work of addressing the issues in our community together."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY designer Joe Freshgoods takes Chicago streetwear out of town with McDonald’s partnership

Posted By on 05.24.18 at 03:30 PM

A T-shirt from Joe Freshgoods's new capsule collection in collaboration with McDonald's - COURTESY OF MCDONALD'S
  • Courtesy of McDonald's
  • A T-shirt from Joe Freshgoods's new capsule collection in collaboration with McDonald's

Joe Freshgoods is a king of authentic Chicago DIY street fashion. A cofounder of the FatTiger Workshop, Freshgoods has gone from selling his designs out of his garage in Pilsen to heading a leading streetwear brand in Chicago. 

A notable moment for the designer came in 2017, when Chicago native and longtime friend of Freshgoods Chance the Rapper accepted the Grammy for best rap performance while wearing a hoodie from Freshgoods’s “Thank you Obama” collection, which dropped on the former president’s last day in office. Although the category wasn't featured on the televised broadcast, the moment has lived on through GIFs and other popular digital formats. Freshgood’s Chicago-area partnerships with Nike, Adidas, and the Chicago Bears came around the same time.  

Now Freshgoods has another opportunity to bring streetwear and the spirit of the Chicago DIY scene to national attention. Earlier this week, the designer announced via his label’s Instagram that he will launch an exclusive capsule collection to celebrate McDonald’s collaboration with Sprite on the new exclusive Mix by Sprite Tropic Berry beverage. Starting at 2 PM on Friday, May 25, patrons at select McDonald's restaurants in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago will have the chance to receive an item of clothing from Freshgoods's capsule collection with the purchase of any soft drink as long as supplies last. The collection will drop alongside an exclusive track and music video by multiplatinum rapper Kyle. Freshgoods says the opportunity to create the capsule collection was offered to him through a phone call, and no doubt inspired by his recent collaborations with other companies.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Rockefeller Chapel presses its majestic carillon into service for a two-day festival of new music

Posted By on 05.24.18 at 02:26 PM

Rockefeller Chapel. The carillon is at the top of the tower. - EDEN SABALA
  • Eden Sabala
  • Rockefeller Chapel. The carillon is at the top of the tower.

If you've spent much time on the University of Chicago campus, you've heard the chiming bells of the Rockefeller Chapel carillon carrying across the grounds. I'd been hearing them for years before I learned how impressive the instrument actually is—the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon, installed in 1932 following a two-year casting process, includes 72 bells totaling 100 tons of bronze, controlled by an array of keys and pedals. Its low C bell is the third largest tuned bell in the world. Carillons seem suited to traditional and liturgical music, not least because they're often installed in church towers, but over their 500-year history they've also been used for very different sorts of sounds.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Dealing with slaughter in the schools, Congress should follow the example of John Wayne

Posted By on 05.24.18 at 06:00 AM

Texas governor Gregg Abbott hosted a roundtable discussion on school safety at the capitol in Austin earlier this week in response to last week's shooting in Santa Fe. - AP PHOTOS
  • AP Photos
  • Texas governor Gregg Abbott hosted a roundtable discussion on school safety at the capitol in Austin earlier this week in response to last week's shooting in Santa Fe.

Instead of condemning lawmakers who refuse to make laws that might reduce the slaughter of schoolchildren, we critics of these legislators should put ourselves in their shoes. They have children of their own—they can imagine the anguish of parents who send their kids off in the morning with lunch bags and retrieve them in the afternoon in body bags. They have no more use than we do for the sullen, misfit killers; like the rest of us, they wish them gone. But there's that devilish Second Amendment, to which they’re philosophically attached—not to mention politically and financially. You don't knock down the pillars holding up a civilization and not expect the ceiling to land on all our heads. Children, however much we love them, are more expendable than the rights we hold dear. There are millions of kids, but only ten sentences to the Bill of Rights.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Percussionist Bill Solomon celebrates a new CD with an hour of bells and bowed bronze

Posted By on 05.23.18 at 04:57 PM

New York-based percussionist Bill Solomon - MICHAEL DUFFY
  • Michael Duffy
  • New York-based percussionist Bill Solomon

As Peter Margasak pointed out in his recent feature on Third Coast Percussion, classical percussion ensembles are a relatively recent phenomenon. So when someone writes a strong new piece, percussionists are liable to talk.

Last year composer and percussionist Sarah Hennies, who runs the label Weighter Recordings in Ithaca, New York, first heard Matt Sargent's 2008 piece Ghost Music. She was so excited she had to share it with a fellow percussionist, and she reached out to a friend—Tim Feeney, her colleague in the trio Meridian, who teaches in the music department at the University of Alabama. "I was excitedly telling Tim Feeney about this seemingly unknown major solo work I'd discovered," she says. "He said something like, 'Oh, of course I know that piece.' Percussion is a bit of a subculture, and occasionally there are pieces or players (or both, in this case) that deserve attention outside the percussion world."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Communion Den Theatre
September 20
Music
Robert Glasper Trio Jazz Showcase
September 20

Tabbed Event Search

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories