Monday, July 24, 2017

Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! in Millennium Park, and more things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 07.24.17 at 05:34 PM

Steve Earle and the Dukes brings country-tinged tunes to the Old Town School of Folk Music Tuesday 7/25. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy of the artist
  • Steve Earle and the Dukes brings country-tinged tunes to the Old Town School of Folk Music Tuesday 7/25.

There's a lot happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Bossy Chicago leads the way for woman-owned businesses

Posted By on 07.24.17 at 02:07 PM

Isabel Benatar and Sam Letscher, cofounders of Bossy Chicago, in the Garage at Northwestern - AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt
  • Isabel Benatar and Sam Letscher, cofounders of Bossy Chicago, in the Garage at Northwestern

When Samantha Letscher and Isabel Benatar, the founders of Bossy Chicago, met and became friends a little more than a year ago, in an entrepreneurship course during their sophomore year at Northwestern, they decided that one day they wanted to start a business or organization that would combine their interests in feminism and social change. Over this past winter, they began working in the Garage, Northwestern's student start-up space, and thinking more seriously about what kind of project they wanted to do.

"It was post-Trump," Letscher recalls, "and everyone was talking about boycotting companies that supported Trump's campaign and boycotting Uber. There was a lot of talk about ethical purchasing and how we shouldn't support big, bad companies that support Trump. We started to wonder, what companies should we be supporting? We wanted to make positive energy instead of telling people what not to do."

So why not, they reasoned, encourage people to start supporting woman-owned businesses by guiding them directly to those businesses? After all, people are going to go shopping or out to dinner anyway. And part of feminism is about women helping other women. So why not give another woman your money?

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Chicago rapper Duffle Bag Buru finds his voice—and earns a cosign from hip-hop outlet Lyrical Lemonade

Posted By on 07.24.17 at 12:00 PM


On Friday, the Portage Theater hosts a rap showcase organized by Lyrical Lemonade, which has come to occupy an unusual position in the local hip-hop scene since music videographer Cole Bennett founded it in 2013. Bennett, now 21, has developed Lyrical Lemonade into much more than an outlet for his video work: today it's also a rap blog, a show promoter (LL booked Lil Uzi Vert's first Chicago show last year), and a clothing line. Bennett's star has risen this year because he's made videos for several fast-rising "Soundcloud rappers," including Web sensations Smokepurpp and Famous Dex. They're not necessarily part of a scene or community, but they've all built their substantial audiences on Soundcloud—and some of their shine has rubbed off on Bennett, who last month was the subject of profiles in Genius and Rolling Stone.

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Report: Emanuel administration ‘diverted’ millions of TIF dollars to Navy Pier renovations, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 07.24.17 at 08:09 AM

Crowds gather at Navy Pier in 2016. - LOU FOGLIA/SUN-TIMES
  • Lou Foglia/Sun-Times
  • Crowds gather at Navy Pier in 2016.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, July 24, 2017.

  • Report: Emanuel administration "diverted" millions of TIF dollars to Navy Pier renovations

City officials in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration "signed off on an elaborate financial shell game that obscured payment of $55 million for renovations at Navy Pier with tax dollars reserved to fight urban blight, records show," according to an investigation by Crain's Chicago Business and the Better Government Association. In 2014 Emanuel's administration started filtering money from tax increment financing (TIF) funds "through a hotel project at McCormick Place, capitalizing on its Near South Side location as a rationale for tapping funds reserved for struggling communities." The investigators obtained e-mails and internal documents showing officials discussing the funding through Freedom of Information Act requests. The situation "vividly illustrates a frequent complaint that the purpose of TIF districts has been distorted by Emanuel, and Mayor Richard Daley before him, to bankroll vanity projects at the expense of schools and other neighborhood services." [Crain's Chicago Business]

  • Chris Kennedy discusses Kennedy family history with gun violence

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy opened up about his family's history with gun violence while introducing policy proposals Saturday. Kennedy is the son of former U.S. senator Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, who were both tragically assassinated by gunmen in the 1960s. One of the Kennedy's proposals is to add 2,000 new Chicago police officers, and he says the increased safety is worth a tax increase. "Tell that to the thousands of people who were shot last year," he said. "Tell that to the people of the families that lost a loved one. Tell that to the children who will be unproductive adults because they can't process the trauma. Tell that to the taxpayer who's going to have the burden of those families for their entire lives because we didn't pay for a few extra police officers today." [Tribune]

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Thanks to Chicago Cinema Society, a rare print of Dario Argento’s Suspiria is touring the nation

Posted By on 07.21.17 at 04:57 PM

  • Suspiria
It's shaping up to be a busy year for Chicago Cinema Society, the local programming organization that's committed to screening rare and exotic genre films. Tonight and tomorrow at the Davis Theater at 11:55 PM, the group presents the local premiere of Kuso, the first film directed by noted musician Flying Lotus. CCS also has plans to screen work at the Nightingale Cinema and the soon-to-reopen Chicago Filmmakers in the near future. But the big news is that CCS is going to distribute pristine 35-millimeter prints of two beloved cult classics, Dario Argento's Italian horror feature Suspiria (1977) and the new-wave sci-fi film Liquid Sky (1982). The first of those titles, which will screen at the Music Box sometime in the fall, begins its tour of U.S. art house theaters at the end of this month.

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Pitchfork gets painted orange in the fight against gun violence

Posted By on 07.21.17 at 02:57 PM

Street View is a fashion series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights some of the coolest styles seen in Chicago.

click image Madame Gandhi supporting the Wear Orange movement at Pitchfork 2017. - ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo
  • Madame Gandhi supporting the Wear Orange movement at Pitchfork 2017.

Pitchfork’s biggest style trend in 2017 wasn’t really a trend, but a movement: many fans—and even a few performers, such as Jamila Woods and Madame Gandhi—sported their best citrus-inspired garb to participate in the Beats > Bullets (“beats over bullets”) initiative, promoted by the festival. As part of their usual community outreach, Pitchfork partnered with local group Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK) and Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention in the country, to bring awareness to the issue.

Everytown started the Wear Orange movement by encouraging people to don the color during the National Gun Awareness Day, celebrated on June 2. The date also marks the birthday of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in Chicago when she was only 15 years old. After her death, Pendleton’s parents and friends started wearing orange to bring attention to the issue of gun violence, since that’s the color hunters wear in the woods to avoid getting shot by other hunters. This year Pitchfork asked its attendees to do the same, and many of them did. Participants could also pose with posters printed with facts about gun violence, both local and national. Learn what they are at and in some of the photos below.

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Fred Lonberg-Holm’s song-oriented Seval releases its final album

Posted By on 07.21.17 at 02:00 PM

Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm is one of Chicago's staunchest advocates of free improvisation, but throughout his lengthy career he's also engaged with various pop modes. Groups such as Valentine Trio and Stirrup (his current band with band with bassist Nick Macri and drummer Charles Rumback) have braided together rigorous improvisation and richly melodic song forms. In the 90s Lonberg-Holm became a kind of unofficial house arranger for South Loop studio Truckstop, which produced recordings by the Boxhead Ensemble, Simon Joyner, and Sinister Luck Ensemble. But perhaps my favorite pop-influenced project of his has been Seval, a quintet with four of Sweden's strongest improvisers.

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Jane: Abortion and the Underground relives the bad old days of covert abortions

Posted By on 07.21.17 at 12:30 PM

  • courtesy Women Make Movies

Back in 1992, just after she'd published her first book, Feminist Fatale, and became the de facto spokeswoman for Gen X feminists, Paula Kamen appeared on a panel about feminism past and present. One of the other panelists mentioned Jane, the Chicago abortion collective that ran from 1969 until the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

"I didn't believe it was real," Kamen says now.

And even now it seems sort of fantastical: a group of young Chicago women, a mix of activists and housewives, who worked together to arrange illegal abortions for women in apartments in and around the city, eventually performing the procedures themselves after their doctor bailed on them. As far as anyone knows, they never lost a patient. Clients found them by calling a number and asking for Jane.

But it was real, the only such service in the U.S., and Kamen set about tracking down former Jane members and clients to find out more. The result was a play, Jane: Abortion and the Underground, which will be revived at a staged reading on Monday evening followed by a panel discussion. Proceeds will benefit the Chicago Abortion Fund.

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Chicago Craft Beer Festival, Cirque Du Soleil: Luzia, and more things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 07.21.17 at 11:54 AM

click image Witness stunning acrobatics at Cirque Du Soleil: Luzia at the United Center starting July 21. - MARIANA OLIVER
  • Mariana Oliver
  • Witness stunning acrobatics at Cirque Du Soleil: Luzia at the United Center starting July 21.

If you picked up a copy of this week's issue, you know Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are performing live at the Vic, and this weekend's packed with plenty of other things to do, including discovering the elusive Waldo at Women & Children First, and the trippy acrobatics of Cirque du Soleil:

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More than 1.2 million people could be getting partial refunds for red light tickets, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 07.21.17 at 06:00 AM

A sign for a red light camera at the corner of Belmont Avenue and Lake Shore Drive - JAMES FOSTER/FOR THE SUN-TIMES
  • James Foster/For the Sun-Times
  • A sign for a red light camera at the corner of Belmont Avenue and Lake Shore Drive

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, July 21, 2017.

  • More than 1.2 million people could be getting partial refunds for red light tickets as the city reaches a $38.75 million settlement in lawsuit

The city of Chicago is settling "a class-action lawsuit alleging Chicago failed to give adequate notice to red light camera and speed camera violators" for $38.75 million, according to the Tribune. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office reached the deal, under which more than 1.2 million people could be refunded half of the fine they paid to the city. Those eligible for a refund will receive a letter in the mail within the next several months. [Tribune]

  • CPS is expecting 8,000 fewer students for the 2017-2018 school year

Chicago Public Schools is expecting about 8,000 fewer students at the start of the 2017-2018, which will allow per-pupil spending to increase by approximately $200, to about $4,290 from $4,087 one year ago. "This is designed primarily to allow schools to cover increased personnel costs from the most recent contracts," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool told reporters. "But as always, you'll see ebbs and flows on an individual school-by-school basis, based on their unique characteristics." [Sun-Times]

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Agenda Teaser

Steve Earle & the Dukes Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music
July 25
Galleries & Museums
The Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery Water Tower Place
June 16

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