The Bleader | Blog + Reader, the Chicago Reader's blog

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Christian indie-rock star who broke up with God

Posted By on 04.17.18 at 06:00 AM

David Bazan at Cornerstone, July 2, 2009 - AZUREE WIITALA
  • Azuree Wiitala
  • David Bazan at Cornerstone, July 2, 2009

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.

As the front man for the band Pedro the Lion, David Bazan was Christian indie rock's first big crossover star. His lyrics, Jessica Hopper wrote, "have a through-a-glass-darkly quality, acknowledging the imperfection of human understanding rather than insisting on the obviousness of an absolute truth." But then something happened: Bazan lost his own faith.

Hopper, who was Bazan's publicist during his final years with Pedro the Lion, ran into him in the spring of 2009 when both were appearing on a panel at a music conference. She hadn't seen him in several years. ""I'm not sure if you know this," he told her, "but my relationship with Christ has changed pretty dramatically in the last few years."

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Ten great photos taken during the heyday of the blues

Posted By on 04.17.18 at 06:00 AM

The Chicago History Museum bought 40,000 photos in 2016 from the estate of Raeburn Flerlage, a music promoter, salesman, and radio host.

Flerlage also worked as a freelance photographer from 1959 to 1970. He died in 2002.


The museum has put many of the images on display in its new "Amplified: Chicago Blues" exhibit. It also put 1,00o of them online in an easily searchable database.

The photos include shots of blues greats like Koko Taylor and Willie Dixon as well as folk artists like Bob Dylan. Here are ten of our favorites.

Koko Taylor and Lightnin' Hopkins at Western Hall in Chicago on April 23, 1965 - CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Koko Taylor and Lightnin' Hopkins at Western Hall in Chicago on April 23, 1965
The White Owl BarBQ House in March 1965 - CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Chicago History Museum
  • The White Owl BarBQ House in March 1965

Junior Wells performing at Theresa's on October 19, 1965 - CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Junior Wells performing at Theresa's on October 19, 1965
Mike Bloomfield interviewing Howlin' Wolf (Chester Burnett) at Burnett's home in Chicago in 1964 - RAEBURN FLERLAGE/COURTESY CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Raeburn Flerlage/Courtesy Chicago History Museum
  • Mike Bloomfield interviewing Howlin' Wolf (Chester Burnett) at Burnett's home in Chicago in 1964

Little Walter at Theresa's Lounge in October 1965 - CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Little Walter at Theresa's Lounge in October 1965

Willie Dixon performing at a recording session at Delmark Records on June 26, 1968 - CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Willie Dixon performing at a recording session at Delmark Records on June 26, 1968

Muddy Waters performing at Pepper’s Lounge at 43rd and Vincennes in 1961 - CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Muddy Waters performing at Pepper’s Lounge at 43rd and Vincennes in 1961
Little Walter playing guitar near Maxwell Street in the early 1960s - CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Little Walter playing guitar near Maxwell Street in the early 1960s

Otis Spann and James Cotton rehearsing in Muddy Waters's basement in Chicago in February 1965 - CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Otis Spann and James Cotton rehearsing in Muddy Waters's basement in Chicago in February 1965

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Rauner’s reefer madness rules despite overwhelming support for legal pot

Posted By on 04.17.18 at 04:00 AM

MARZENA ABRAHAMIK
  • Marzena Abrahamik

As if anyone needed another reason to oust Bruce Rauner, consider this: there will never be legalized marijuana in Illinois as long as he's governor.

Just in case his attempts to bankrupt public education weren't enough of a deterrent to casting a vote for his reelection.

All right, on the week of 4/20, the time has come for me to answer a few questions about the state’s effort to catch up with the rest of the modern world and legalize reefer.


Or, as the pols like to put it—legalize the recreational use of marijuana. As though smoking reefer were like playing flag football.

So the first question is—isn't it already legal?

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Aldermen's absolute veto power over ward projects gets unlikely court challenge

Posted By on 04.16.18 at 02:55 PM

A proposed 299-unit apartment building on the northwest side would include 30 affordable housing units. - COURTESY OF GLENSTAR
  • Courtesy of GlenStar
  • A proposed 299-unit apartment building on the northwest side would include 30 affordable housing units.

GlenStar, the luxury developer at odds with 41st Ward alderman Anthony Napolitano over a proposed 299-unit apartment building near the Cumberland Blue Line, has sued the city in an attempt to secure the necessary zoning changes to proceed with construction. But buried in its demands that a judge find city officials' actions regarding its proposed building unlawful is a major legal challenge to the age-old practice of "aldermanic prerogative."

This tradition, while not articulated anywhere in city code, has historically given aldermen veto power over developments in their ward. As the case of GlenStar's proposal has shown, when Napolitano decided he didn't want its apartment building in his ward, the City Council's zoning committee complied and didn't grant the developer a hearing or vote on its proposal.


In a complaint filed in Cook County circuit court on March 20, GlenStar lays out a series of events that matches those previously reported by the Reader:  Napolitano initially supported GlenStar's proposal, and it received approval from both the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Council and the city's Department of Planning and Development. In June 2017, however, Napolitano "inexplicably" reversed course and withdrew his support, according to GlenStar. This happened shortly after controversy erupted over an affordable housing proposal in nearby Jefferson Park; Napolitano had publicly sided with those opposed to that building. GlenStar contends that Napolitano flip-flopped because its development would include affordable housing units too. (Napolitano has maintained that his opposition to GlenStar's proposal is on the basis of density, though in an e-mail to 45th Ward alderman John Arena previously obtained by the Reader, he actually defended the apartment building in question, saying the proposed location "is exactly where you'd expect to see density." Napolitano also claimed he wasn't aware of the affordable housing planned for GlenStar's building.)

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An interview with Lucrecia Martel, Argentina's greatest filmmaker

Posted By on 04.16.18 at 12:11 PM

Martel's Zama screens this week at the Gene Siskel Film Center.
  • Martel's Zama screens this week at the Gene Siskel Film Center.
I would rank Zama, an Argentine period drama playing this week at the Gene Siskel Film Center, alongside Johnnie To’s Life Without Principle, Aleksei German’s Hard to Be a God, Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice as one of the major cinematic events of the decade. The film marks the long-awaited return of writer-director Lucrecia Martel, who hadn't released a film since The Headless Woman in 2008. Martel’s first three features (which the Film Center will revive later this month) comprise one of the most original bodies of work in 21st century cinema, employing a visual and sonic language all their own to advance an idiosyncratic view of modern life. Based on a 1956 novel by Antonio di Benedetto, Zama stands proudly beside Martel's other films and takes her core thematic concerns (sex, family, class, nature, inertia) into new territory. The film was worth the wait.

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Lettuce now praise Richard Melman, one of the greatest innovators in Chicago food history

Posted By on 04.16.18 at 08:19 AM

Richard Melman (front) poses by the salad bar in his first reataurant, R.J. Grunt's, in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood with his family. - SPENCER GREEN
  • SPENCER GREEN
  • Richard Melman (front) poses by the salad bar in his first reataurant, R.J. Grunt's, in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood with his family.

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.

My grandmother often speaks fondly about, of all things, waiting in line to eat at the original RJ Grunts in Lincoln Park. The first restaurant opened by what is now the culinary juggernaut Lettuce Entertain You group offered something no one else had: a salad bar. Think about that for a second. Richard Melman, the man behind RJ Grunts, is responsible for the popularity of the salad bar, and probably single-handedly saved the sneeze-guard industry.

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Weed Week: Get in the mood for 4/20 with these photos by Chicagoans dedicated to legal weed

Posted By on 04.16.18 at 06:00 AM

click image WINDY CITY CANNABIS
  • Windy City Cannabis


It's weed week, Chicago!

As you know, Chicago overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalizing marijuana completely in March.


So since Friday is 4/20, we've rounded up some of the best photos from Chicago Instagram accounts dedicated to 4/20 and legalized weed.

A post shared by @chicagogreen420 on

#cannabiscommunity #cannabis #chicagocannabis #cannabisrevolution #canabisculture

A post shared by CRC (@richardchistoph) on

A post shared by Smoke Chicago (@smokechicago) on






A post shared by Angel Quiles (@hipchicago420) on



Night everyone✌🏽️💨

A post shared by @ chicagocannabis420 on





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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 Impersonator.

"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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The four-star film You Were Never Really Here and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 04.16.18 at 06:00 AM

You Were Never Really Here
  • You Were Never Really Here

There are plenty of shows, films, and other events happening this week. Here's what our critics say about what we recommend:


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Dried scallops the key ingredient in chef C.J. Jacobson's 'Mediterranean XO sauce' [VIDEO]

Posted By on 04.16.18 at 06:00 AM


When Brent Balika (Margeaux Brasserie) challenged C.J. Jacobson of Ema to create a dish with dried scallops, Jacobson knew what he wanted to make. First, though, he had to get his hands on the scallops (also called conpoy). "It's been a journey," he says. "H-Mart didn't have them, so I had to go to Chinatown, and finally I called Brent." As it turns out, Balika dries his own scallops in-house and offered to drop some off for Jacobson. "Who just has dried scallops on hand that they do themselves?," Jacobson asks. "He does. I don't know why. I don't think it’s on the menu at Margeaux."

Jacobson says the flavor of the dried scallops is "superdank, musty umami . . . very caramelly seafood flavor. It’s really cool, adds a lot of flavor." Traditionally, dried scallops are used in XO sauce, a spicy seafood sauce popular in China that also includes dried shrimp, garlic, ginger, chiles, and spices. Because Ema is a Mediterranean restaurant, Jacobson added tomatoes and herbs to his sauce to give it a Mediterranean flair.


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Performing Arts
She Kills Monsters Prop Thtr
March 23
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Jeremy Pelt Quintet Jazz Showcase
April 19

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