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Jumping Ship

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Staffer Ryan Smith says goodbye to the Reader

Posted By on 10.18.18 at 05:15 PM

Bruce Rauner adopts some culturally liberal causes in service of his cruel economic campaign. - RYAN SMITH
  • Ryan Smith
  • Bruce Rauner adopts some culturally liberal causes in service of his cruel economic campaign.

Shortly after Sun-Times Media bought the Reader, CEO Edwin Eisendrath admitted he didn't really know what an "alternative" publication in Chicago had to offer these days. Alternative to what?

In some ways, he had a point. Alt-weeklies have increasingly become a victim of their own success. The countercultural beat of weed, LGBTQ pride, edgy theater, and punk music that once set the alternative press apart have increasingly become permanently etched into mainstream urban life. The entrenched power structures that used to vehemently oppose the rights of gays—Republicans, the police, and the military—now regularly march at Pride parades. Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker wants Illinoisians to be able to smoke weed for fun. Riot Fest, punk rock's annual nostalgia fest, doesn't inspire anything resembling a riot.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

City culture czar Michelle Boone says she's jumping to Navy Pier

Posted By on 07.06.16 at 01:00 PM

Michelle Boone - RICH HEIN / SUN-TIMES
  • Rich Hein / Sun-Times
  • Michelle Boone

Update: Navy Pier has posted an official announcement on its website, which you can read here.

After five years as head of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, commissioner Michelle Boone has resigned, effective July 15. According to a letter e-mailed today to "colleagues and friends," Boone will step into a new job as "chief program and civic engagement officer" at Navy Pier, Inc., the nonprofit organization that operates the Pier.

At no0n today, however, Navy Pier, Inc. sp0kesman Jon Kaplan said he could not yet confirm her appointment.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

MP Presents leaves Fizz Bar

Posted By on 08.03.15 at 12:30 PM

Fizz Bar & Grill - LEOR GALIL
  • Leor Galil
  • Fizz Bar & Grill
After local music-booking company MP Presents (sometimes known as MP Shows) parted ways with Township in Logan Square late last year it soon after started putting on a multitude of punk shows at Fizz Bar & Grill in Lakeview. That is, until recently: last week MP Presents moved many of its shows from Fizz to 1st Ward, the venue attached to Chop Shop, a combination restaurant, butcher shop, and bar on North Avenue near the heart of Wicker Park.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Why I'm always glad to watch a good chase sequence

Posted By on 06.24.15 at 02:30 PM

Steve McQueen in Bullitt, which contains one of the most famous chases in movie history
  • Steve McQueen in Bullitt, which contains one of the most famous chases in movie history
I didn't acknowledge it in my review of Mad Max: Fury Road, but one reason I love the film is that it contains so many chase sequences. I'm especially partial to a good chase, as I spent a few years at a job where chasing people was a regular part of my day, and now that several years have passed since I've had to pursue anyone, I get a little nostalgic for the activity when I see it onscreen. I've written before about having worked as a direct-care provider at a day center on the far northwest side for severely and profoundly mentally retarded adults. (Severe and profound mental retardation, by the way, are clinical terms, "severe" referring to an IQ score of roughly 20-40 and "profound" referring to an IQ score of 20 or below.) Some of these adults we called "runners," meaning they would try to flee the day center when they were feeling upset. And one of those runners was the middle-aged autistic man with whom I worked one-on-one for about a year and whom I called "Daryl" in an earlier post. Among other things, Daryl taught me that a good chase can really perk up an otherwise ordinary day.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chicago doom band Indian confirms breakup

Posted By on 03.04.15 at 09:00 AM

  • Courtesy of Relapse Records/Edouard Pierre
  • Indian

On Friday, February 27, the organizers of the Psycho California weekend posted a message from Chicago doom band Indian, who'd been booked to play the festival: "Indian has come to the point where we can no longer be a band," it said in part. "We have cancelled the few shows we had coming up, including our appearance at Psycho California." The news trickled out slowly at first, then blew up all over the metal Internet after a MetalSucks post yesterday.

So has Indian actually broken up, or is this one of those situations where a rogue member has a snit and presumes to speak for everybody? According to guitarist and vocalist Dylan O'Toole, the band is definitely finished. "We can call it ten years and that's a wrap—that's what we're doing with that," O'Toole says. "I think there's limits to the vitality of what we were up to."

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is a childish movie in the best sense

Posted By on 02.17.15 at 10:40 AM

SpongeBob Squarepants braces for an epic food fight in Sponge Out of Water
  • SpongeBob Squarepants braces for an epic food fight in Sponge Out of Water
This past weekend Fifty Shades of Grey opened to whopping commercial success, enjoying the most profitable opening weekend ever for an R-rated movie. It came not long after American Sniper—another R-rated movie that audiences seem to enjoy debating more than actually watching—sat atop America's box office chart for about a month. Clint Eastwood's latest had been dethroned one weekend earlier, however, by another, more genial cultural phenomenon: SpongeBob SquarePants, whose second theatrical feature, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, drew in audiences to the tune of $50 million. Sponge Out of Water happens to be a better film than Sniper or Grey, though it hasn't received nearly as much critical attention as either. One reason might be that, unlike the others, The SpongeBob Movie is way more fun to watch than discuss.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Underemployed: Out of time

Posted By on 11.16.12 at 07:10 AM

underemployed is totally getting cancelled
  • Kids just want to have . . . fun?
Youth is wasted on the young, especially on MTV's four-episode-old skipping stone toward #YOLO relevance, Underemployed. If I'm reading the scheduling and ratings info right, the cast and crew of the show have about two weeks until they find themselves . . . underemployed!

Until Tuesday, MTV had shown a repeat of each new episode of Underemployed right after it premiered. Not so this week—it preferred a days-old rerun of Jersey Shore in the 10 PM Central time slot, followed by another episode of the reality show. The show's ratings pointed out why: Underemployed pulled an audience of just 400,000 people for its third episode, down from 650,000 for the first two. The third episode of I Just Want My Pants Back, Underemployed's conceptual and generational predecessor on MTV, pulled a much healthier 1.88 million, and even that show got canceled. That spells trouble with a capital "WTF."

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Web comics: now more than just PDFs

Posted By on 11.09.12 at 06:05 PM

Comics are getting cooler on the web, you guys
  • A screenshot of the Guardian's election comic. Those panels are coming together, fyi.
I was talking to my dad about voting in the election the other day when the subject of online ballots came up. They would have saved him the headache of a 20-minute wait (or Michael Miner a two-hour goose chase). It occurred to me that there's a much greater benefit, too—through hyperlinks and bigger web pages, you can store much more data in an online ballot. Imagine being able to read a candidate's platform, either condensed or at length, as you voted. Assuming voters are curious about whose name they're checking off if not committed to participatory democracy, they'll take a second to do some pundit-free thinking.

That got me thinking about something way more fun: comics and the Web. Not web comics, like XKCD or Dinosaur Comics, although both are fantastic, but comics that are made to be read online, and no where else. To me, the idea of reading a print comic or graphic novel online feels even worse than picking up an e-book, a deprecated way of consuming something made for higher resolution than a screen can provide. But a couple of comics I've seen lately have made me think that web development is catching up to what comic writers can do. I think we might start seeing some really interesting new interactive art online soon.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Surrogate of insanely rich neighborhood developer casts it as savior in dumb article

Posted By on 10.24.12 at 05:04 PM

Ribs n bibs is delicious
  • Marc Monaghan
  • The delicious Ribs 'N' Bibs, which may or may not contribute to the "blight" on 53rd Street.
In a recent and fucking dumb New York Times article about the University of Chicago's $250 million program to add a hotel, movie theater, Chipotle, LA Fitness, Akira, and a Starbucks it already had, U. of C. executive vice president David Greene actually called that development "enlightened self-interest for us." The area was referred to as "blighted" in the article, though it failed to mention that plenty of the so-called blight, like closing Barack Obama's favorite restaurant, was thanks to the University itself. And if that once-thriving thoroughfare is blighted, what do you call Englewood?

Oh but don't take my word for it:

At least Hyde Park is getting a Longman and a Yusho.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Onion writers saying no to Chicago

Posted By on 03.22.12 at 03:43 PM

An Onion expose
  • Satish Krishnamurthy
  • An Onion expose
We're waiting with bated breath for the Onion, which is supposed to move here from New York in July. But as the Atlantic Wire reports today, the feeling isn't reciprocal: only five of the Onion's 16 full-time editorial staff members have agreed to make the move.

"There's too much material in Chicago," one Onion writer told us. "With your mayor, the aldermen, and the Cubs, it's just not enough of a challenge."

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