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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Illinois Film Tour will bring independent films, resources to communities statewide

Posted By on 03.16.17 at 02:47 PM

  • Full Spectrum Features
  • Formidable Dreams

Two local independent-film nonprofits, IFP Chicago and Full Spectrum Features (FSF), are partnering on a new initiative, Illinois Film Tour (IFT), with the intention of supporting diverse filmmakers and providing resources to underserved communities across the state. Funded by a $10,000 Multiplier grant from Illinois Humanities (IH), IFT enters a one-year pilot phase this spring, with Nicole Bernardi-Reis and Eugene Sun Park—president of the board of directors at IFP and the founder of FSF, respectively—cocurating the project.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In a bizarre trial, a judge rules in favor of famous artist Peter Doig

Posted By on 08.24.16 at 01:15 PM

Peter Doig
  • Peter Doig

After seven days of testimony and a week's breather from a trial as surreal as the artwork at its center, international art star Peter Doig has won a resounding victory.

A U.S. district court judge ruled on Tuesday that Doig did not paint the desert landscape a former corrections officer claimed to have purchased from him 40 years ago for $100 (after watching him create it in a Canadian prison).

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Looking for a ‘national conversation’ on race? Look around.

Posted By on 08.08.16 at 10:56 AM

Supporters of the 'Blue Lives Matter' movement, back, and supporters of the Black Live Matter movement, front, held opposing rallies in McAllen, Texas, in mid-July. - JOEL MARTINEZ/THE MONITOR VIA AP
  • Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP
  • Supporters of the 'Blue Lives Matter' movement, back, and supporters of the Black Live Matter movement, front, held opposing rallies in McAllen, Texas, in mid-July.
Imagine America as a gigantic mahogany table around which sit the writers of America, deciding, as things fell apart, that it was time to step up, and therefore writing—and signing by the hundreds—an "open letter to the American people" declaring that "as a matter of conscience" they opposed "unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States." And having done that, imagine them leaning back in their padded swivel chairs at the gigantic mahogany table, sighing with satisfaction, Well, that's our two cents' worth, and reaching for the bowl of jelly beans set out as a reward.

The letter I'm describing was actually written, in May, posted on the website Lithub, and signed by more than 450 writers. 

What happened next was completely predictable: Aleksandar Hemon, a writer who didn't sign the open letter, said that if writers wanted to oppose Trump, and the sorry trajectory of American life that led to Trump, they should be writing books, not useless letters.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

#BankBlack movement sends deposits soaring but Chicago’s Seaway still needs investment to stay afloat

Posted By on 07.29.16 at 03:00 PM

Seaway Bank, located at 645 E. 87th Street - RICHARD A. CHAPMAN/SUN-TIMES
  • Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times
  • Seaway Bank, located at 645 E. 87th Street

Just a year ago the future of Chicago's two black-owned banks—Illinois Service Federal and Seaway Bank and Trust—looked grim. Both banks were under consent orders from federal regulators to raise capital after years of shrinking income brought them to the brink of failure. They badly needed an influx of new deposits to continue making loans, and millions of dollars in investment to keep shareholders from bailing.

Since the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile earlier this month, a #BankBlack movement has picked up steam. Prominent entertainers including Usher, T.I., and Killer Mike have urged African-Americans to move their money from large, commercial banks into black-owned financial institutions.

The push has had immediate impact in Chicago. ISF has received more than $4 million in new deposits since the beginning of the month, according to bank officials. Seaway customers opened 450 new accounts and deposited $1.6 million in the same timespan.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

From Stone Terrace to Stony Island: the push for culture-​based redevelopment

Posted By on 02.05.16 at 07:00 AM

Stone Terrace - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • Stone Terrace

In the last week, with the city and state flailing around in their twin oceans of debt and the future of our Paris on the Prairie looking particularly grim, two of Chicago's most distinctive characters hosted sunny celebrations that were all about making things better through thoughtful redevelopment. 

Albeit at opposite ends of the geographic and income spectrum. 

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mayor Rahm tries and fails to tell the truth about TIFs and taxes

Posted By on 10.22.15 at 03:09 PM

Mayor Rahm doesn't tell the truth about TIFs and taxes even while trying to abide by the state's "Truth-in- Taxation Law." - TIM BOYLE/SUN-TIMES
  • Tim Boyle/Sun-Times
  • Mayor Rahm doesn't tell the truth about TIFs and taxes even while trying to abide by the state's "Truth-in- Taxation Law."

During the last few weeks, I engaged in a little shuttle diplomacy with Alexandra Holt, the mayor's budget director, and Ken Davis, host of a public access television talk show.

The topic is TIFs—what else? Specifically, that part of the TIF program where the mayor secretly makes you pay more in property taxes.

This is a particularly sensitive topic right about now, as Mayor Emanuel's getting ready to sock you with a property tax hike of more than $600 million.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Twenty-seven years after Straight Outta Compton, can political hip-hop reach white listeners?

Posted By on 08.14.15 at 03:30 PM

N.W.A after Ice Cube left the group. From left to right: Yella, MC Ren (crouching), Eazy-E, and Dr. Dre. - SUN-TIMES MEDIA
  • Sun-Times Media
  • N.W.A after Ice Cube left the group. From left to right: Yella, MC Ren (crouching), Eazy-E, and Dr. Dre.

When N.W.A dropped their incendiary debut album, Straight Outta Compton, in 1988, the FBI fueled its notoriety with a letter condemning songs such as "Fuck tha Police" for inciting violence. The album, with lyrics reflecting the brutal conditions facing black Americans under the boot of Ronald Reagan's war on drugs, eventually sold more than two million copies.

The label that released Straight Outta Compton, Priority Records, estimated that 80 percent of the album's sales were to white listeners in suburban America. But bored white teenagers listening to N.W.A didn't necessarily want to understand the day-in, day-out oppression of police brutality—for many of them, the album was a fantasyland, its nihilistic violence and righteous energy providing a chance for them to feel "street" without being exposed to gang violence or racialized policing.

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MacArthur Foundation shifts focus to a few 'big bets'

Posted By on 08.14.15 at 08:00 AM

MacArthur Foundation president Julia M. Stasch
  • MacArthur Foundation president Julia M. Stasch

Uh-oh: the MacArthur Foundation announced Thursday that it's changing the focus of its philanthropy.

That'll be good news for some of its beneficiaries, not so good for others.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

For those about to stream, AC/DC salutes you

Posted By on 06.30.15 at 12:00 PM

Dirty streams done dirt cheap - WEATHERMAN90/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Weatherman90/Wikimedia Commons
  • Dirty streams done dirt cheap

Anyone who regularly uses online music-streaming services has probably noticed some important artists missing from cloud-based platforms: Bob Seger, King Crimson, Ash Ra Tempel, DJ Sprinkles, many Drag City artists. OK, maybe I'm the only person who considers these acts important—but hey, sometimes I'm itching to listen to them and there are situations where my physical copies or external hard drive aren't readily available. Well, knock AC/DC off that list. The rock-hard hard-rockers, in conjunction with today's Apple Music launch, will make all of their discography available for streaming services, for whenever you get the urge to hear the same riff gloriously played over and over again. In celebration of capitalism at its crudest, today's nooner is an AC/DC standard, "What You Do For Money Honey," off of some album called Back in Black

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Monday, May 18, 2015

As Governor Rauner slashes funds, Mayor Emanuel starts his second term by playing nice

Posted By on 05.18.15 at 04:30 PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was sworn in for his second term and resumed his campaign to be seen as a nice guy.
Mayor Emanuel wore a suit to be sworn in for his second term Monday, but he sounded a lot like the V-neck sweater Rahm of his reelection campaign.

The city of Chicago is saddled with $33 billion in debt and pension obligations, and the fiscal health of the public school system is even worse. But the mayor didn't bring up those unpleasant details during his inauguration speech at the Chicago Theatre. He vowed to "address our pressing pension and fiscal challenges" over the next four years—and then dropped the subject.

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October 02
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