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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Saba confronted grief and found joy in his Pitchfork set

Posted By on 07.21.18 at 11:18 AM

Saba performs on Pitchfork’s Red Stage on Friday afternoon. - TIM NAGLE
  • Tim Nagle
  • Saba performs on Pitchfork’s Red Stage on Friday afternoon.

is one of Chicago's best current musical exports. He's spent most of April and May touring the U.S. and Canada in support of the alternately scalding and beautiful Care for Me, and his late-afternoon Red Stage set on Friday at Pitchfork was his first hometown show of the year. The emotional epicenter of that self-released album, which came out in April, is "Prom/King," a vivid, even-handed recounting of the 24-year-old rapper's friendship with his murdered cousin, Walter Long Jr. They didn't always get along growing up, as Saba acknowledges in the song, but their friendship crystalized after Long offered to find his cousin a prom date. In 2012 they helped found west-side rap collective Pivot Gang, and Long took on the name John Walt for his music. It seemed like everywhere Saba went, Walt was by his side. They weren't just family who made music together—they'd become best friends.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Does the Second Amendment apply to black people?

Posted By on 07.20.18 at 07:17 AM

Police and protesters confront one another the day after the shooting of Harith Augustus on July 15. - COLIN BOYLE/SUN-TIMES
  • Colin Boyle/Sun-Times
  • Police and protesters confront one another the day after the shooting of Harith Augustus on July 15.

With all the attention focused on the police shooting of Harith Augustus in South Shore, the silence coming from the gun rights groups is deafening.

I mean, just about everyone else has weighed in, one way or the other, on the July 14 shooting, including Black Lives Matter activists, Mayor Rahm, and the Fraternal Order of Police.

But not a word from the normally loquacious spokespeople for the National Rifle Association, like Dana Loesch, Oliver North, or Wayne LaPierre.

And it's weird, 'cause if ever there were a case tailor-made for the NRA to join—or even lead—it would be this one.

Consider what we know from the footage released by Chicago police.

It's Saturday evening. Augustus is standing on the sidewalk outside the barbershop where he works, on 71st street near Jeffery Boulevard in South Shore.

Several police officers approach him. We don't what they're saying because there's no sound in the body camera footage released by the police department.

It looks as though one officer is asking Augustus for an ID. Augustus reaches for his wallet. Another police officer reaches for his arm, as if to handcuff him. Augustus breaks for the street. As he turns, his shirt lifts, revealing what looks to be a handgun holstered at his waist.

It's then that he's shot by a probationary officer, who's not been identified.

Defenders of the police say Augustus was reaching for his gun, so the cops had no choice but to shoot him before he shot them.

Putting that matter to the side, the great unknown is why the police approached Augustus in the first place.

I mean, he was doing no wrong. He was bothering no one.

He was not a known offender. He had no arrest record apart from "three minor arrests" dating back years ago, as the Tribune put it.

The official police explanation, offered by spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, is that Augustus was "exhibiting characteristics of an armed person."

But that's no crime—owning a gun. In this case, Augustus even had a firearm identification card.

Furthermore, it's not hard to understand why he would own a gun. He's a barber—a cash-heavy business—in a relatively high-crime area.

It's at this point in the discussion where the NRA's voice is noticeably absent.

Because as Loesch, North, and LaPierre never tire of saying, there's nothing wrong with owning a gun.

Quite the contrary, as they see it, it's a fundamental right, enshrined by the founders in the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which of course states: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

I've heard NRA members invoke the sacred gun-owning liberty every time anyone calls for gun control, even in the aftermath of horrific mass murders. Such as when . . .

Adam Lanza shot 26 people, including 20 children, in Newtown, Connecticut, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Or Dylann Roof shot nine people during a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.

Or Stephen Paddock shot 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas in 2017.

And so on.

The right to bear arms is championed by all the leading Republicans in the land, including Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh, the judge he's just nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In fact, a few years ago, one Chicago police officer caused a stir when he allowed himself to be photographed holding an American flag and standing behind a sign that read: “I stand for the Anthem. I love the American flag. I support my president and the 2nd Amendment.”

And yet the police approached Augustus, as he stood on the sidewalk bothering no one, because they thought he was "exhibiting characteristics of an armed person."

This case should boil the blood of any self-respecting Second Amendment advocate. Indeed, Loesch, North, and LaPierre should be marching with the Black Lives Matters activists in their demonstrations for justice.

But you know how it goes. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's anti-union Janus decision, it's obvious that Republicans think the First Amendment is only supposed to protect the speech of conservatives—certainly not football players, like Colin Kaepernick, who kneel during the National Anthem.

And apparently, the NRA thinks the Second Amendment only applies to white people.

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Sarra Jahedi wants to welcome you into her family

Posted By on 07.20.18 at 06:00 AM

  • courtesy Sarra Jahedi

Sarra Jahedi is an artist of many mediums: a poet, sculptor, filmmaker, comedian, musician, and most recently, a painter.

Jahedi's paintings combine abstraction and portraiture, drawing on the work of Rothko and Pollock to bring the physical immediacy of conceptual modern art into the context of figurative representations. "Meticulousness is a falsity in art," says Jahedi, who opts instead for almost stream-of-consciousness style painting. "The people [in my paintings] reveal themselves mostly to me," Jahedi says.

Averse to the inaccessibility of gallery shows, Jahedi favors displaying her work in more mundane settings that allow her art to interact with the real world. Her newest show, "Welcome to the Family," which takes place tomorrow, July 21, in Villa Park, fits with this recent move towards accessibility: it's in a house, rather than a gallery.

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The Pitchfork Music Festival and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 07.20.18 at 06:00 AM

How many of this year's Pitchfork acts can you identify in this illustration? - JASON WYATT FREDERICK
  • How many of this year's Pitchfork acts can you identify in this illustration?

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this weekend. Here's some of what we recommend.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Who or what is that on the Reader’s Pitchfork cover this year? Here are your answers.

Posted By on 07.19.18 at 03:19 PM

click image The answer key for our Pitchfork contest - JASON WYATT FREDERICK
  • Jason Wyatt Frederick
  • The answer key for our Pitchfork contest

What do Rahm Emanuel, Steve Albini, and Lauryn Hill have in common?

Not much, but all three make cameo appearances on this week's cover illustration for the Reader's Pitchfork Music Festival preview. Artist Jason Wyatt Frederick depicted 31 people, places, or things to identify, including artists playing Pitchfork this weekend and a few beloved Chicago locations. Click on the image above to enlarge it—each character that isn't a false lead is marked with a number.

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Chance the Rapper owns Chicagoist—now what?

Posted By on 07.19.18 at 01:11 PM

Honestly, if you live here, you should know who this is by now. - JACK PLUNKETT / AP
  • Jack Plunkett / AP
  • Honestly, if you live here, you should know who this is by now.

A young black Chicago philanthropist has purchased a dormant local news site. But because that philanthropist is Chance the Rapper, and because he made the announcement in "I Might Need Security" (the best of the four new songs he dropped last night), the good news comes with an asterisk. What good news doesn't?

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Chicago soul singer Christian JaLon wants you to know what love means to her

Posted By on 07.19.18 at 11:45 AM

Christian JaLon - MATT HARVEY
  • Matt Harvey
  • Christian JaLon

Growing up in the church is a common backstory for black R&B and soul musicians. The choir director is often their first vocal coach, and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" is often the one of the first songs they learn, second only to the ABCs. For Chicago soul artist Christian JaLon, the church is a house of worship, a springboard into musicianship, and something greater than both—it's the home of love.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hitting the road on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 07.18.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: John Garrison
SHOWS: Kali Masi's summer tour, which kicks off at Cobra Lounge on Thu 8/23 with Turnspit, City Mouth, and Super Neutral

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FilmStruck spotlights the sophisticated cinema of George Cukor

Posted By on 07.18.18 at 06:00 AM

George Cukor's Les Girls
  • George Cukor's Les Girls
George Cukor often seems like the great Hollywood auteur hiding in plain sight, obscured on the one hand by international icons such as John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock and, on the other hand, by cult heroes such as Raoul Walsh and Allan Dwan. A filmmaker of greater refinement than many of his contemporaries, he made elegant, sophisticated films with an unmistakable visual style. This week the streaming channel FilmStruck moves Cukor front and center as its featured director, offering up a generous selection of his films; we've bypassed the three most iconic (The Women, The Philadelphia Story, and A Star Is Born) in favor of five others that demonstrate his artistry and range.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Manual Cinema comes home to debut The End of TV

Posted By on 07.17.18 at 06:00 AM

Vanessa Valliere is a QVC home shopping host in Manual Cinema’s The End of TV. Below the screen are Valliere and fellow cast member/puppeteer Jeffrey Paschal. - JUDY SIROTA ROSENTHAL
  • Judy Sirota Rosenthal
  • Vanessa Valliere is a QVC home shopping host in Manual Cinema’s The End of TV. Below the screen are Valliere and fellow cast member/puppeteer Jeffrey Paschal.

In a cool room with brick walls, blankets block any light coming through the windows. In the middle of the room, three overhead projectors sit opposite a white screen, where four actors perform as silhouettes, then quickly run behind the projectors to place and move the slides that create the set and backdrop for their performance. Much like an assembly line, there are many moving parts in this rehearsal space as Manual Cinema prepares for the July 19 Chicago debut of The End of TV at the Chopin Theatre.

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