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Mary MacLane: teen diarist from Montana who set America ablaze in 1902

At the turn of the last century, Mary MacLane wrote of her life in Butte, Montana, but she was no Laura Ingalls Wilder. Instead of comforting tales of a tough life, she instead imagined herself conversing with the Devil, and she could come across like "an off-kilter Walt Whitman with odes to her red blood, her sound, sensitive liver." Her first diary was originally titled I Await the Devil’s Coming, but her publisher re-titled it The Story of Mary MacLane, released to much (publisher-stirred) flurry and attention (Google books preview). Thanks to her book, she was able to move to Chicago. She wrote two more books, a variety of news paper columns and even a movie entitled Men Who Have Made Love to Me (Google books), which she wrote, directed, and starred in, directly addressing the camera at times. But for all the attention and publicity of the era (she was commemorated in a drink recipe, paid $500 for her likeness to be used on cigar boxes, and a Butte baseball team took her name as the team name), she has largely faded away, in part thanks to a public who turned from intrigued to mocking. Recently, Mary MacLane has found a renewed interest, thanks to the re-publishing of her original diary under its original name, as well as an anthology of her writing with additional notes (Google books preview). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 30, 2013 - 22 comments

Energy crisis, industrial pollution, Kodachromes and more...

From The Atlantic, a series of photography that documents America in the 1970s: the Pacific Northwest | New York City | the Southwest | Chicago's African-American community | Texas [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 29, 2013 - 20 comments

Support Neighborhood Public Schools

While students return to class today, Tribune photojournalist Brian Cassella visits the buildings that sit empty after being shut down by the Chicago Public Schools. More on CPS closings on metafilter here and here.
posted by dinty_moore on Aug 26, 2013 - 22 comments

Not Crate & Barrel, something edgy--like CB2.

She doesn't make much, but she still gets paid - she's a lower level mayoral office aide! (MLYT, last link NSFW).
posted by borkencode on Aug 16, 2013 - 4 comments

Who wants free ice cream

Watch the Melvins (with Jeff Pinkus) play a Butthole Surfers tune while giving kids free Ice Cream.
posted by cellphone on Aug 9, 2013 - 10 comments

Richard Prendergast Rode on the Prisoner Train with Kurt Vonnegutt.

"Just to describe you: You're a large man, a big boned man." ..The most fascinating oral history you'll hear this week. Prendergast endured a German labor camp after being captured during the battle of the bulge, and witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden from 15 miles away. Interviews were recorded as source material for Studs Terkel's book: The Good War.
posted by thisisdrew on Aug 6, 2013 - 4 comments

Lip Gallagher meets Garage Rock

Need something to headbang to? The Orwells are the mallrats you're looking for. [more inside]
posted by tooloudinhere on Aug 2, 2013 - 5 comments

"When I saw his body and what it was like, I knew I couldn't say no."

Willie Reed, key witness in the Emmett Till case, has died in Chicago at age 76. Reed was an 18-year-old sharecropper who witnessed Emmett Till's murder in August 1955. Despite being threatened at gunpoint by J.W. Milam, one of Till's killers, Reed came forward to serve as a surprise witness for the prosecution at trial [PDF of Reed's testimony]. [more inside]
posted by liketitanic on Jul 20, 2013 - 66 comments

Pat-down

"All of us in TV have had people try to sabotage one of our reports before, so I figured if they want to be on TV so badly, I'll put them on TV." Parts 1 and 2, and related.
posted by mudpuppie on Jul 11, 2013 - 35 comments

Hang On, I Turned Into Two Ugly Guys And A Dog

Splitsider presents - The Top Eleven Sketch Comedy Groups On The Internet, featuring many Metafilter favorites. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 6, 2013 - 13 comments

Hillbilly Heaven in Chicago

Chicago's hillbilly culture may come as a surprise. The great migration of African Americans from the South to Chicago is, of course, widely known and well documented; their impact on the south and west sides continues to be clear. The lesser known and somewhat later stream of white Southerners ("hillbillies" for short, though that's a pejorative, of course) had a big impact on the city's north side. [more inside]
posted by JimInLoganSquare on Jun 16, 2013 - 25 comments

"He’s also on PCP, FYI."

The Open Key: comics inspired by the endless stream of weirdness that is the Chicago Police and Fire scanner. (And if you prefer your scanner feed with evocative ambient music, You Are Listening to ___ has a new site.)
posted by theodolite on Jun 14, 2013 - 2 comments

The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age

"The Chicagoan, published from 1926 to 1935 in Chicago, was explicitly modeled on the New Yorker in both its graphic design and editorial content. The magazine aimed to portray the city as a cultural hub and counter its image as a place of violence and vice. It was first issued biweekly and then, in a larger format, monthly, ceasing publication in the midst of the Depression. The magazine received little national attention during its lifetime and few copies survive. This digital collection reproduces the near-complete run in the University of Chicago Library with issues supplied from other collections where possible."
posted by MCMikeNamara on Jun 6, 2013 - 6 comments

Ain't No Prison Like The One I Got

On The Tamms Poetry Committee: "One of the artists' initiatives was "photo requests from solitary." Prisoners on solitary would request photos and professional photographers would then shoot the request and send the photo back. The gallery of prisoners requests is surprising and poignant."
posted by artof.mulata on Jun 2, 2013 - 27 comments

A housing liberation movement is brewing in Chicago

The idea is simple: Tens of thousands — possibly hundreds of thousands — of vacant, bank-owned homes are a large part of what is making the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago into semi-forsaken tracts ridden with crime and blight. So why not use them to house the homeless? [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jun 1, 2013 - 59 comments

2cool4school

Last spring, Chance the Rapper got suspended from High School for 10 days. Faced with an ultimatum from his Dad to make real progress as an artist or drop it and get serious about his studies, Chance spent his suspension making the mixtape #10Day, a critical hit. Now, Chance has released another mixtape, Acid Rap, that delves even deeper (and with even more complex wordplay) into his favorite subjects: hallucinogens, nicotine addiction, the 90s, his mom, and the current dire situation of the south side of Chicago. Many critics are calling it a masterpiece. Download for free here, or listen here.
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 31, 2013 - 60 comments

"We are not toys. We are not going down without a fight."

Third-grader Asean Johnson schools Rahm Emmanuel on the mayor's plan for Chicago's public schools. (YT) [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 25, 2013 - 37 comments

Chicago High School Students Open Manufacturing Co-operative

Chicago is bringing the co-operation in all kinds of ways these days. First the opening of New Era Windows Cooperative last week, now this: [more inside]
posted by deliciae on May 15, 2013 - 3 comments

The Fight For Fifteen

In what could be the largest strike of its kind, hundreds of fast food workers in Detroit walked off their jobs on Friday, echoing the rallying cry heard (or not?) across the country that the currently underpaid workers deserve $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Friday's strike in Detroit comes on the heels of similar actions in other cities—Wednesday and Thursday in St. Louis, and in Chicago and New York City last month.
posted by SkylitDrawl on May 12, 2013 - 110 comments

The secret eye of Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier was a photographer who made some incredible images of 20th century America. But almost no one knew about her until 2007. And now a new documentary is being made about this enigmatic character whose incredible eye documented street life and characters in New York, Chicago and beyond.
posted by salishsea on May 9, 2013 - 13 comments

Do you spit or swallow?

Bostonians Tyler Balliet and Morgan First love wine. Drinking it, talking about it, introducing other people to it. But wine, unfortunately, is often perceived to have an attitude, a culture of snottiness and pretension that puts people off before they even get close to a wine glass. Why swirl it? What's with that obnoxious sucking sound? What the hell is the deal with spitting it out? What about the confusing vocabulary and snooty descriptors? When did wine become "sassy" or "understated", instead of "delicious"? [more inside]
posted by MissySedai on Apr 30, 2013 - 127 comments

This is basically a love letter from my stomach.

Serious Eats tries all the tacos at La Chaparrita. What is this magical place? Well... [more inside]
posted by phunniemee on Apr 26, 2013 - 52 comments

Poor Seems Kind

On Sunday, Rachel Shteir, a theater professor at DePaul University, wrote a critique of three Chicago-focused books for the New York Times Book Review. Many Chicagoans were none too happy. [more inside]
posted by theuninvitedguest on Apr 24, 2013 - 32 comments

"Our city is under siege right now."

The Chicago Public School system has announced it will close 54 elementary and middle schools before next year. [more inside]
posted by Phire on Mar 27, 2013 - 62 comments

Sweet Home Chicago

While this has been mentioned recently, it is quite worth remembering it was just 20 years ago, that LeAlan Jones, and Lloyd Newman taught the world an important lesson; Ghetto Life 101.

But please don't forget their equally stunning followup, Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse.
posted by timsteil on Mar 22, 2013 - 1 comment

What Fresh El is This?

As part of a public-private partnership intended to defray badly-needed capital improvements, the Chicago Transit Authority will peddle predatory debit cards to its riders.
posted by Iridic on Mar 21, 2013 - 119 comments

On Chicago Public Schools Censoring Persepolis's Images of Torture

Suffice it to say, Persepolis is quite a work. It’s a testament to the power of the graphic novel. The art’s simple linework helps the story feel unpretentious and direct. Persepolis was adapted as a 2007 French animated film, written and directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Among other honors, it was nominated for an Academy Award. Why would someone want to ban such a book?
posted by Artw on Mar 16, 2013 - 33 comments

A Disturbing Sound.

If you ever wanted to hear James Brown give the full sermon, There’s this.
posted by timsteil on Mar 6, 2013 - 11 comments

This Chicago Life

Last school year in Chicago, 29 current and recent students of Harper High School in the Englewood neighborhood were shot. Of those, 8 students died. For one semester (five months) reporters from the NPR show This American Life interviewed students and staff at Harper. The reporters wanted to know: How do students live with the violence surrounding them? How does the school staff deal with the effects of violence on students? The resulting two episodes of the show answer these questions (and more) in heartbreaking and surprising ways. Part one here. Part two here.
posted by Misty_Knightmare on Feb 22, 2013 - 30 comments

Anatomy of a Heroin Ring

What turned out to be most notable about the operation, though, was how typical it was. (Chicago Reader, via longform.org)
posted by box on Feb 16, 2013 - 14 comments

A Building Full of Ice

Before thawing out their former cold-storage facility, Fulton Market Cold Storage (now Hasak Cold Storage) invited nature photographer Gary Jensen to document their abandoned building full of ice. (Via.) [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on Feb 10, 2013 - 12 comments

Douglas?

Click that 'hood! is a simple game which tasks you to locate neighborhoods in one of six cities: Chicago, IL; Lexington, KY; Louisville, KY; Oakland, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA. An easy game gives you 20 neighborhoods: A hard game gives you the entire city.
posted by shakespeherian on Feb 4, 2013 - 43 comments

"Fullerton is next. Doors open on the right at Fullerton."

Lee Crooks, from the Milwaukee burbs, is the voice of the Chicago Transit Authority's buses and trains. Here's his personal site, with samples (a CTA sample is included in the "Narration" section of his audio demos.) A Tribune piece from when he was more reticent about his identity. [more inside]
posted by andrewesque on Feb 4, 2013 - 51 comments

Luthorcorp- It's a name you can trust!

Wonder Woman's Half-Brother Has Defeated Both Batman and Spiderman [more inside]
posted by TheWhiteSkull on Feb 1, 2013 - 23 comments

Wild is the Windy City

Chicago has been having some fairly remarkable weather lately, even by their standards. On the 25th of January there was more than an inch of snowfall recorded for the first time in 335 days, a new record. Then a surge of warm air from the south brought a temperature of 63 degrees at O'Hare airport on January 29th, a new record for that date, exactly one week after a temperature of 9 degrees was recorded (which, combined with the 35mph winds on that date, produced a windchill factor of about -20f). The current forecast (at time of posting this) calls for a high of only 14f on Friday (Feb. 1st), another significant temperature swing within a few days.
posted by MattMangels on Jan 30, 2013 - 37 comments

“I think I like Prince so much I would actually “buy” my tickets.”

Siskel and Ebert on Prince.

I know right?
posted by timsteil on Jan 29, 2013 - 54 comments

Big money, small pocket

Gary Comer, the late founder of Lands' End, grew up in Pocket Town on Chicago's South Side. When he visited in 1998, he saw that his neighborhood--home to about 2,000 people (and the city's best blues club)--had fallen on hard times. So he spent $86 million to build schools, affordable homes, and a youth center. Has it helped?
posted by hal incandenza on Jan 25, 2013 - 31 comments

Hell Froze Over

It's cold in Chicago right now. How cold? Water will freeze to the sides of a burning building.
posted by schmod on Jan 23, 2013 - 121 comments

" I think it may be a front for a cult."

According to Yelp reviews, a Chicago-area Taco Bell is one of the best dining experience in the city people on r/Chicago over at reddit call it "magical.
posted by The Whelk on Jan 17, 2013 - 169 comments

The many songs of Bertrand Goldberg, architect, artist, visionary.

Bertrand Goldberg is widely known as the architect who builds round buildings, but little is known about his innovative theories of space and his utopian ideas that have generated these sculptural forms. His work speaks with a vocabulary that is still unfamiliar to some and unappreciated by many. Goldberg’s often repeated statement, "for the first time in the history of the world we can build whatever we can think," seems to have been the beacon guiding his career. While many projects have been fully realized, some others have been only partially implemented, but all have grown out of Goldberg’s unique philosophical, aesthetic, and technological thinking.
From the preface to the Oral History of Bertrand Goldberg [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 11, 2013 - 14 comments

Mirage (n) 2. Something that appears real or possible but is not.

"It looked like any neighborhood tavern in Chicago. The beer was cold, the bratwursts hot."

"The Mirage Tavern was a drinking establishment at 731 N. Wells St. in Chicago purchased by the Chicago Sun-Times in 1977 to investigate widespread allegations of official corruption and shakedowns visited on small businesses by city officials. The journalists used hidden cameras to help ensure that city inspectors caught accepting payoffs for ignoring safety hazards were all properly documented."

Thirty-five years ago this week, the Sun-Times began a 25-part series, which documented its work with government watchdog organization Better Government Association and venerated TV news program 60 Minutes* to capture the shakedowns, shoddy inspections, and graft galore. And now Sun-Times digital editor Marcus Gilmer is reposting every story on the day it ran in 1977 here along with additional reporting and details. [more inside]
posted by MCMikeNamara on Jan 9, 2013 - 12 comments

Don't bait Richard Marx, not in his town

Edward McClelland made a crack on his blog about 80s pop star Richard Marx. He didn't expect Marx to respond....
posted by Chrysostom on Jan 9, 2013 - 138 comments

A Package For Professor Jones

In which the University of Chicago receives a mysterious package for Henry Walton Jones, Jr.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Dec 13, 2012 - 78 comments

Love of the Windy City

Take a tour of the Chicago Loop and discover its beautiful architecture.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 27, 2012 - 30 comments

Dinner is Coming.

Game of Thrones Food Trucks. (SLYT)
posted by curious nu on Nov 14, 2012 - 31 comments

Go to War. Do Art. (II)

The permanent collection of the (US) National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago contains more than 2,500 pieces of art by 250 artists, all of which can be seen at NVAM Collection Online. The site includes biographical material on the artists who created the work. Featured Artwork. A small selection. (Via. Images at links in this post may be nsfw, and/or disturbing to some viewers.)
posted by zarq on Nov 12, 2012 - 1 comment

Five hundred thirty-eight...burritos?

The Burrito Bracket: Nate Silver's Forgotten Dream [more inside]
posted by obscurator on Nov 9, 2012 - 58 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

"This is a job for a stupid man . . . "

Twenty years ago today: "I'm calm now / I've calmed down / but I'm shaking . . ." [more inside]
posted by chaff on Oct 10, 2012 - 31 comments

Chicago gang violence

Chicago's WBEZ has created an interactive map of the city and where its various gangs operate, using data provided by the Chicago Police Department. Chicagoist considers the map and its implications while Progress Illinois discusses the changing nature of gang violence.
posted by shakespeherian on Sep 25, 2012 - 48 comments

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