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Monday, June 25, 2018

South-side poet Kwynology wants you to fall back in love with Chicago at her open mike

Posted By on 06.25.18 at 04:13 PM

Kwyn Townsend Riley, aka Kwynology - MATTHEW HARVEY
  • Matthew Harvey
  • Kwyn Townsend Riley, aka Kwynology

South-side native Kwyn Townsend Riley, aka Kwynology, is in love with the city of Chicago. Her hopes for its people, her pride in its culture, and her appreciation of its influence on her individually were recurring themes in my conversation with her. They also appear in her recent poem "Windy." In the emphatic spoken-word piece that is as sobering as it is starry-eyed, Kwyn delivers a sermon on what her hometown means to her and expresses her gratitude, optimism, criticism, and vision for "Windy," which she personifies as a hurt person who only wanted to "burn blunts, blow trees, and do poetry, and be free" but has ended up burning "childless dreams."

"I want people to fall back in love with the city," Kwyn said. "It just feels like so many people have given up on it and are leaving it behind."


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Friday, June 8, 2018

Anne Ford, the Reader’s Studs Terkel, reveals her secrets: ‘It’s all being curious’

Posted By on 06.08.18 at 09:03 AM

Chicagoans is a first-person account from off the beaten track, as told to Anne Ford. This week's Chicagoan is . . . Anne Ford, who after 190 columns is bidding the project farewell.
"In desperation, I thought, what if I edited all together [these] wonderful quotes, would my editor be interested in a Studs Terkel approach?" - TOM MICHAS; SOPHIA PORTER: HAIR AND MAKEUP
  • Tom Michas; Sophia Porter: hair and makeup
  • "In desperation, I thought, what if I edited all together [these] wonderful quotes, would my editor be interested in a Studs Terkel approach?"

I was going to write a profile of this guy whose name I can't remember who was and possibly still is a private tutor. He was a very colorful guy. For some reason, I got really stuck. He was a great talker. But I couldn't get myself to write this profile. In desperation, I thought, what if I edited all together his wonderful quotes, would my editor be interested in a Studs Terkel approach? From there, I floated the idea of it being a regular thing.

Sometimes I think of a person I've always wanted to talk to. Then I cold-call them. I run into people at parties and they happen to mention what they do. And I go, rrrooww. Like the firefighter. I was sitting next to him at a dinner party. I started asking very dumb questions, like do you slide down a pole? He said, no, that is a good way for people to fall through and hurt themselves.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Donald Trump impersonator: Just don't punch me, please

Posted By on 04.16.18 at 06:00 AM

Chicagoans is a first-person account from off the beaten track, as told to Anne Ford. This week's Chicagoan is Dennis Alan, 67, the Ultimate Donald Trump Lookalike.

"Mine is not to reason why, right?," says Dennis Alan. - IMAGE BY GARY TYSON, WWW.F8.PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Image by Gary Tyson, www.f8.photography
  • "Mine is not to reason why, right?," says Dennis Alan.

By nature's curse or benefit or whatever, I just happen to look like Donald Trump. It takes me five, ten minutes to make myself up. Most of the other impersonators who do Trump need some kind of facial prosthetic, but I can just throw on some foundation. And I'm as fat as Trump is, so I don't need any assistance there either. If I have to apply the hairpiece, that can take maybe 20 minutes.

I've done advertisements in South Korea and Hong Kong, and I did an advertisement for Twinkies in Cairo. It was a video with an Egyptian film star for some new flavors of Twinkies that were coming out. Trump has a signature orange tone to his skin, and evidently one of the new flavors was orange. It's going to sound crazy, and I felt crazy, but in the ad I was in a tiki bar next to this movie star, a big hulky guy, and he was juggling oranges and I was pouring orange juice into a stein and sipping on it and watching him juggle. Mine is not to reason why, right?

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Daniel Weinberg loves Abraham Lincoln (and especially Abraham ‘Linclon’) more than you do

Posted By on 04.12.18 at 06:00 AM

HERITAGE AUCTIONS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • HERITAGE AUCTIONS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

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.

On April 14 in 1865, president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while attending a production of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre. (The Reader's Michael Miner saw the play in 2015, and claims it's actually quite funny.) The anniversary of this tragedy is Saturday, and none are more aware than Daniel Weinberg, who has owned the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop for 34 years.

The Reader's Anne Ford profiled Weinberg and the shop in 2004, and learned the depth of Weinberg's obsession with our 16th president:

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Three Spider-Man outfits, mechanical feathered wings, and other great photos from C2E2

Posted By on 04.06.18 at 04:38 PM

We've rounded up some of the best Instagram photos of the costumes and props that fans and cosplayers prepared for C2E2, the comic, games, movies, and everything expo that hit Chicago this weekend.

Packing up for @c2e2! Can’t tell you guys how excited I am for this year. If you see me say hi! ___________________________________ Ultimate and TASM suits by @therpcstudio (Patterns by @brandonogilberto) 60s Homecoming suit by @zentaizone Modified by me Pattern by @houseofjcustoms ___________________________________ #cosplay #cosplayer #cosplaying #cosplayers #cosplayersofig #cosplayersofinstagram #marvelcosplay #avengerscosplay #spidermancosplay #spideycosplay #spidermancosplayer #chicagocosplay #c2e2 #c2e22018 #spiderman #spidey #spidermanhomecoming #ultimatespiderman #theamazingspiderman #tasm #andrewgarfield #peterparker #tomholland #marvel #marvelcomics #marvelstudios #marvelcinematicuniverse #mcu #avengersinfinitywar #infinitywar

A post shared by Matt Timm (@thespidermatt) on

Totoro #totorocosplay #totoro #c2e22018 #c2e2

A post shared by Ashley Smallwood (@red_hairedash) on

This #Castiel tho!! #c2e2

A post shared by C2E2 (@c2e2) on




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Monday, April 2, 2018

Meet Chicago's contest queen: She enters up to 100 sweepstakes a day—and once won $100K

Posted By on 04.02.18 at 01:13 PM

Chicagoans is a first-person account from off the beaten track, as told to Anne Ford. This week's Chicagoan is contest entrant Cynthia Kendall, 50.

"It's a bit like exercise: I enjoy it, but sometimes I'd rather skip it, but I do it anyway," Kendall says of the 50 to 100 sweepstakes she enters daily. - TOM MICHAS
  • Tom Michas
  • "It's a bit like exercise: I enjoy it, but sometimes I'd rather skip it, but I do it anyway," Kendall says of the 50 to 100 sweepstakes she enters daily.

I remember really getting into it around 2010. I went to an event at the zoo, and they had a raffle to win this huge cake that had fondant monkeys all over it. I won the cake that night, and my kids were still little; they were so excited. I looked online and found a ton of websites for people who enter contests, and the people on there said, "I win a few big prizes a year," or "Every couple of years, I might win a car or a vacation." So I started to get into the habit.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Hundreds of Chicago students to protest gun violence outside Stroger Hospital this weekend

Posted By on 03.23.18 at 06:10 PM

Student activists at a taping of Windy City Live - KOFI ADEMOLA
  • Kofi Ademola
  • Student activists at a taping of Windy City Live


The GoodKidsMadCity coalition, made up of students across the city, is organizing a student "sit-/die-in" in front of John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital on Saturday, March 24. More than 200 youth are expected to turn out to represent the many lives lost to gun violence in Chicago, particularly by people of color.


GoodKidsMadCity, a partnership between inner-city students in Baltimore and Chicago with an active GoFundMe campaign, is the same coalition that oversaw the Chicago Public Schools walkout on March 14 in conjunction with National Walkout Day.


Across the country, National Walkout Day, a protest calling for new and improved gun laws, drew roughly a million students from 3,000 high schools.


During the sit-/die-in, which starts at 10 AM, students plan to chant “Chicago, Chicago, can’t you see what these gunshots did to me?” and “Whose streets? Our streets!” before conducting a press conference to read demands for gun reform and community revitalization. The students will then march to Union Park to join the national March for Our Lives movement.


“[The students'] goal is to emphasize their demands which are having wraparound services, trauma-informed schools, mental health care within schools, and challenging the narrative around school safety looking like a prison,” said Kofi Ademola, the adult organizer for GoodKidsMadCity. “They don't want police and metal detectors in schools, they want trauma counselors.”

CPS students head to Washington, D.C., for the March for Our Lives protest.
  • CPS students head to Washington, D.C., for the March for Our Lives protest.

Several students from GoodKidsMadCity are also participating in the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., which is happening simultaneously with the march in Chicago.


After the students finish marching in Chicago, they will attend the No Cop Academy Youth Summit, which offers free workshops on organizing and civil engagement.


No Cop Academy is a campaign opposing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to build a $95 million police training facility on the west side. Groups like Assata’s Daughters and Black Lives Matter Chicago say they want to see that money invested in communities rather than law enforcement.


“Looking to 2019, these students want Rahm out of the office,” Ademola says. “We have students that are 15, 16, 17 now that will have a voice in the 2019 election.”


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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

‘The minute you're bored, you're not doing your job,’ says Shahna Richman, FBI agent turned bodyguard and security expert

Posted By on 03.20.18 at 04:23 PM

Chicagoans is a first-person account from off the beaten track, as told to Anne Ford. This week's Chicagoan is former FBI agent Shahna Richman, 48, who's now the owner and CEO of Richman Forensic & Security Consulting.

"I'm looking at people so closely that I know who has a gun on and who doesn't," says Shahna Richman. - JON SHAFT
  • Jon Shaft
  • "I'm looking at people so closely that I know who has a gun on and who doesn't," says Shahna Richman.

In the FBI, I focused exclusively on bank robbers, fugitives, serial murderers, kidnappers, and sex traffickers. I have discharged my firearm, but I have never killed anyone, thank goodness. Like most law enforcement officers, I would not want to even begin to count the number of people that I could have shot in good faith, but I always made every effort to use an alternative method. But I've had to physically take down more individuals than I could count.

I am literally five feet two and 100 pounds on a good day. Strangely enough, I don't view myself as small. I think I am a six-foot-something linebacker trapped in a five-foot-two body. So my size really never affected me professionally. It still doesn't.

I'm now fully retired in good standing from the FBI, and I own a forensic and security consulting company. The bulk of my work is large-scale event security planning. Clients hire me to design, plan, and execute security services for their events. In Chicago, I am familiar with almost every large-scale venue. I'm looking at entry points, exit points, vulnerabilities. We provide everything—armed security, unarmed security, explosive-detection canines.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A southwest-side library has become a neighborhood lifeline

Posted By on 09.27.16 at 04:16 PM

Some West Englewood Branch Library patrons come “looking for just someplace to forget about what’s happening in their lives,” Abioye says. - DANIELLE A. SCRUGGS
  • Danielle A. Scruggs
  • Some West Englewood Branch Library patrons come “looking for just someplace to forget about what’s happening in their lives,” Abioye says.

Chicagoans
is a first-person account from off the beaten track, as told to Anne Ford. This week's Chicagoan is Adewole Abioye, West Englewood Branch Library teen-services rep.


"I'm first-generation Nigerian-American. It's interesting, in this day and age, to hear some of the questions I get. For instance: 'Do Africans run around naked? Are there cities in Africa? Are there cars?' 

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Friday, September 16, 2016

‘The clit is just a big eyebrow to me,’ and more memorable quotes from the Reader’s Chicagoans column

Posted By on 09.16.16 at 04:59 PM

Anne Ford - DANIELLE A. SCRUGGS
  • Danielle A. Scruggs
  • Anne Ford

Chicagoans is a first-person account from off the beaten track, as told to Anne Ford. This week's Chicagoan is . . . Anne Ford!

The great oral historian Studs Terkel called himself "gabby." I'm not gabby. Around strangers, I tend to resemble the way Virginia Woolf described herself and her sister at parties: like two deaf-mutes waiting for the funeral to begin. But years ago, I found the remedy—asking other people questions about themselves. If there's a better way to disguise social anxiety (besides booze), I haven't found it. That's how Chicagoans got started. For the 150th installment, here are a few of my favorite lines from this experiment in curiosity.

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Communion Den Theatre
September 20
Performing Arts
BigMouth Chicago Shakespeare Theater
September 18

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