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Revenge Killing in the City

Following on the heels of a bloody summer in Chicago, Vice Magazine has partnered with CeaseFire for a new documentary on violence interrupters. The purpose of this documentary? To help promote Bethseda software's new videogame, Eye for an Eye, based on revenge killing. Previous work on this subject includes The Interrupters, which did not have a videogame tie-in.
posted by dinty_moore on Sep 19, 2012 - 23 comments

Chicago Teachers Strike

For the first time since 1987, Chicago public school teachers will strike. Last year, the city council in Chicago passed a law mandating that 75% of Chicago Teachers Union members would need to vote to authorize a strike. In June, CTU announced that they had met that threshold, and that they would strike if negotiations with Chicago Public Schools over job security, evaluations, and a longer school day with no extra pay for teachers, failed. They did, and tonight Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, announced that as of midnight tonight, public school teachers in Chicago are on strike.
posted by deliciae on Sep 9, 2012 - 184 comments

South Wales, and Beyond the Infinite

What I wrote was unquestionably fiction — was fantasy. Among Others has magic and fairies. But I was writing fantasy about a science fiction reader who had a lot of the same things happen to her that happened to me. It’s set at the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980, and it’s about a fifteen year old just when I was fifteen, and from a family like mine and in the time and place and context where I was. I was using a lot of my own experience and memories. But this is Mori, not me, and she lives in a world where magic is real. Jo Walton, who as editor for tor.com revisisted the Hugos 1953-2000, now has one of her own, taking home the 2012 Best Novel Award for Among Others. Other winners include Kij Johnson for her Novella The Man who Bridged the Mist (excerpt) and io9 regular Charlie Jane Anders for her novellete Six Months, Three Days. The Best Graphic Story award went to the webcomic Digger by Ursula Vernon. E Lily Yu took home the Bets New Writer award (technically not a Hugo) and was also nominated for her short story The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees. A couple of TV shows you have heard of also got awards. Links to many of the nominated stories here.
posted by Artw on Sep 3, 2012 - 51 comments

Chicago's Murder Problem

With six homicides, Saturday August 18th tied with an unseasonably warm February day for the dubious honor of Chicago's deadliest day, bringing the year's death total to over 340. Chicago is now one of the world's deadliest cities, much worse than the more populous NYC, even earning comparisons to Kabul. Possible culprits include failed urban policies, guns, concentrated poverty, and gangs (and counterintuitively, the fact that some are fractured and poorly run).
posted by melissam on Aug 21, 2012 - 39 comments

The Curious Case of the Missing Congressman

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., son of revered civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, Sr., has been missing from the public eye since June 10th, failing to cast votes and making no public appearances. After weeks of vague statements raising more questions than answers about his mystery illness, Jackson's office has stated that he is seeking treatment for "debilitating" depression at the Mayo Clinic. Jackson's office denies alcoholism or drug addiction. [more inside]
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College on Aug 7, 2012 - 39 comments

Veteran singer Kelly Hogan finally gets her due

Singer Kelly Hogan has a reputation as a journeyman, someone who's worked for years to master the craft but has yet to make a mark of her own. That may change with her new album, I Like to Keep Myself in Pain. Here are some songs: 1 2 3 4 5. [more inside]
posted by hydrophonic on Jul 22, 2012 - 31 comments

"Yeah, she thought Chicago schools were still legally segregated. That was around 2003."

Chicago students reflect on 13 years of segregated schools
posted by nebulawindphone on Jun 30, 2012 - 22 comments

I like the concept of emptiness

The surreal self-portraits of Kyle Thompson. Kyle Thompson is a 20 yr old self taught photographer from the suburbs of Chicago. Here is his flickr stream, his tumblr.
posted by growabrain on Jun 28, 2012 - 68 comments

I'm coming back with a friend, and you will be very sorry!

Conan O'Brian, at the end of 4 days of broadcasting from Chicago, sends "the nicest, most polite person we know"--Jack McBrayer, who plays the rube Kenneth on 30 Rock--to The Wiener's Circle, notorious as much for the vulgar insults served up by its hostile staff as for its hot dogs. When things don't go so well for meek Jack, he calls in some backup.
posted by drlith on Jun 15, 2012 - 78 comments

In 'unusual' turn, Cook County state's attorney supports lawsuits questioning constitutionality of gay marriage ban

"The fight for same-sex marriage rights in Illinois took an unprecedented turn Thursday as Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez conceded that the state's ban on gay marriage violates the Illinois Constitution, essentially agreeing with a pair of lawsuits her office was expected to oppose. It marks the first time a state has refused to contest a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of a gay marriage ban. The Illinois attorney general's office, which would be next in line to defend the state's constitution, already had announced plans to file a brief in support of the lawsuits brought by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois."
posted by nooneyouknow on Jun 15, 2012 - 79 comments

I’m done for the night

Since 2007 (or 1997) Dmitry Samarov has been writing and drawing the highs and lows (mostly lows) of driving a cab in Chicago.
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 19, 2012 - 21 comments

Obama's Friendly FIRE

In 2008 the late Robert Fitch, author of "The Assassination of New York", was asked to foretell an Obama presidency before the Harlem Tenants Association:
If we examine more carefully the interests that Obama represents; if we look at his core financial supporters; as well as his inmost circle of advisors, we’ll see that they represent the primary activists in the demolition movement and the primary real estate beneficiaries of this transformation of public housing projects into condos and townhouses: the profitable creep of the Central Business District and elite residential neighborhoods southward; and the shifting of the pile of human misery about three miles further into the South Side and the south suburbs... Obama’s political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE—the finance, insurance and real estate industry. And the wealthiest families—the Pritzkers, the Crowns and the Levins.

posted by ennui.bz on May 8, 2012 - 41 comments

May Day in Chicago: then and now

As Chicago prepares to join other cities in marking May Day with a march and a general strike, it is interesting to think about these actions in the context of May Day's Chicago origins and Chicago's role in labor history. [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Apr 30, 2012 - 20 comments

See you in Chicago

Chicago has a new tourism anthem. It's pretty incredible.
posted by naju on Apr 26, 2012 - 80 comments

Yes, John Barleycorn is #1

And now, the 25 Douchiest Bars in Chicago. [more inside]
posted by TheWhiteSkull on Apr 17, 2012 - 114 comments

The Great Chicago Flood of 1992

"I have found something very interesting in the Chicago River on the east side of the Kinzie Bridge. I see swirling water that looks like a giant drain... I would say it looks like the source of the water could be the river itself, and I am hearing reports that fish are swimming in the basement of the [Merchandise] Mart just feet from the swirl! I do not see any emergency crews near this spinning swirl, but I think they may want to take a look. In fact, I think someone should wake up the Mayor!"
Twenty years ago today was the Great Chicago Flood. About 250,000,000 gallons of the Chicago River found its way--via a breach caused by construction near the all-but-forgotten tunnels of the Chicago Tunnel Company--into the basements of Chicago's Loop business district. It even sent fish up into the Pedway. [more inside]
posted by theoddball on Apr 13, 2012 - 41 comments

Should you ask him what he does for a living, he'll answer that he's unemployed.

David Cohn, AKA Serengeti, has been described as "the quirkiest, deepest rapper", and "a writer who happens to rap". He has put out several albums but has encountered virtually no commercial success whatsoever, despite some raw works on the topics of absentee fathers, heroin, and a fictitious UFC fighter. Chief among his creations is alter-ego Kenny Dennis, with origins in what has become his most famous track, "Dennehy". Kenny is a Chicago sports superfan with a mustache "the size of Mike Ditka's forehead" who loves actor Brian Dennehy, O'Douls, brats, and chops, 'sconsin, the Sears Tower, and his wife Jules, and who passionately defends Steve Bartman. [more inside]
posted by rollbiz on Apr 11, 2012 - 27 comments

Charlie Trotter

You have only 128 days left to eat at Charlie Trotter's eponymous restaurant in Chicago. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Apr 11, 2012 - 66 comments

Panoramic Photographer

Will Pearson is a London-based professional panoramic photographer. His work comprises cityscapes, landscape panoramas and 360 virtual tours. There is an emphasis on capturing images at a massive resolution. This one of Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai is my favorite. Will takes time for fun too with The Rain Project.
posted by netbros on Apr 2, 2012 - 2 comments

"If I had just kept walking...."

The Chicago Reader's current cover story, "The Color of His Skin," (parts 1 and 2,) revisits the murder of a black man on Chicago's South Side in 1970 by a gang of white teens. Last September, a similar article by the same author, "The Price of Intolerance," (parts 1 and 2,) examined an incident from 1971, in which a twelve year old boy and thirteen year old girl were killed.
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2012 - 3 comments

The Work of Poetry in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Poems While You Wait A group of Chicago poets, led by Dave Landsberger and Kathleen Rooney, sets up shop at festivals, markets, libraries—even a planetarium—and writes "artisanal" poems on demand, in front of their customers, with proceeds going to a literary non-profit. And they're not the only ones.
posted by Zozo on Mar 2, 2012 - 8 comments

This Mall Had Everything

Dixie Square Mall, Chicagoland's rotting eyesore, urban archaeology mecca. and site of a Blues Brothers chase scene, is finally being demolished. For real this time. It sat vacant and rotting since closing in 1979, slowly becoming the grim epitome of dead malls. (Previously)
posted by Yakuman on Feb 25, 2012 - 36 comments

Staying out of the whole "good-and-bad-drama"

Tonight Frontline aired the documentary film "The Interrupters", the video is available on Frontline's website. On WTTW, Chicago's major PBS affiliate, a special "Chicago Tonight" followed the presentation. It featured a panel discussion with Violence Interrupters Ameena Matthews, Eddie Bocanegra, and Cobe Williams, an interview with the filmakers and an interview with former Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis and CeaseFire Director Tio Hardiman. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Feb 14, 2012 - 18 comments

One Chicago hotel's story

NEW DELUXE TRANSIENT ROOMS WITH FREE ADULT MOVIES ... that's what the three-story-tall painted sign promised. It's faded and peeling now, but the sign's still there, though the Viceroy Hotel has been closed for nearly a decade. [more inside]
posted by orthicon halo on Feb 14, 2012 - 34 comments

City of Big Shoulders and Sans Serif

One designer's attempt to create a logo for each of Chicago's seventy-seven community areas, and a few of the more well-known neighborhoods in between. [more inside]
posted by dinty_moore on Jan 23, 2012 - 33 comments

Chicago Gang Cards

In the 1970s and 1980s, Chicago gangs distributed gang cards to stake their neighbourhood claim. Full gallery available here.
posted by gman on Jan 20, 2012 - 44 comments

"There's only a few of us left to man the controls."

W i l c o (MLYT +Colbertnation) frontman Jeff Tweedy does the Chicago weather report(:30, OPENS W/ AD). [more inside]
posted by obscurator on Dec 15, 2011 - 21 comments

This Old Cub gets to the Hall

The votes are in, and former Chicago Cub, Ron Santo is this year's only inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, one year after his death. (previously discussed)
posted by vagabond on Dec 5, 2011 - 23 comments

Hard Time Killin Floor

Hubert Sumlin, the legendary guitarist for Howlin Wolf, and many others, has passed away. An appreciation.
posted by timsteil on Dec 4, 2011 - 20 comments

A selection of Kubrick's photojournalism

Stanley Kubrick's New York and Chicago [ via ]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 1, 2011 - 10 comments

Hornlets and hornlings.

Specimen products is the workshop of Ian Schneller, a Chicago-based sculptor-turned-luthier. His site is worth a look if you are interested in unusual guitars and other stringed instruments (like this electic lute), eccentric amplifiers and speakers, or extreme guitar repair. Currently Schneller is collaberating with musician Andrew Bird on Sonic Arboretum, a musical perfomance/installation piece. Here is video of a performance at the Guggenheim in 2010, and a slideshow of the preparations for an upcoming performance at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.
posted by gamera on Dec 1, 2011 - 9 comments

From The Great State of...Cook County?

"Downstate families are tired of Chicago dictating its views to the rest of us." Two Downstate Illinois state legislators, Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) and Rep. Adam Brown (R-Decatur), have proposed a bill to make Cook County its own state. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done.
posted by SisterHavana on Nov 25, 2011 - 96 comments

"Hopes and dreams... will end up killing you."

Daniel Knox prophecies calamity and doom on piano and kazoo. A Chicago musician and songwriter with the voice of a 1920s troubadour, Knox composes tragicomic ballads reminiscent of Will Oldham or Tom Waits. Listen to Evryman for Himself, the harrowing Ghostsong, the poignant You Win Some, You Tie Some, and Disaster. [more inside]
posted by oulipian on Nov 8, 2011 - 7 comments

♬I want to ride my bicycle/ I want to [text while riding] it where I like♬

Most states have enacted laws banning texting while driving. The New York Times even featured a game testing simulated drivers' attention. Chicago, one of America's more daunting traffic hubs, will now be extending the prohibitions to non-motor vehicles. The City Council today passed an ordinance prohibiting bicyclists from texting while moving. [more inside]
posted by obscurator on Oct 5, 2011 - 133 comments

"this man has paid enough"

This week has seen a lot of discussion of the American criminal justice system and its failings, and a lot of concern about what can be done to fix it. In 1947, a working class black man looked like he was about to have the full weight of the system brought down on him for taking justice into his own hands. But after Chicago leftists - including labor unions, religious leaders, artists, civil rights activists & others - launched a movement, James Hickman was set free after an all-white jury, in a trial presided over by a white judge, failed to convict, and the DA chose not to re-try because of the magnitude of public support for Hickman. According to a review in The Nation, a new book tells the story in a way that turns the typical right-wing biases of the true crime genre on their head. [more inside]
posted by univac on Sep 22, 2011 - 11 comments

There's a space!

While former mayor Richard M. Daley's 2008 selloff of all 36,000 of Chicago's parking meters to LAZ Parking has resulted in some pain for drivers, such as steep rate hikes and the end of free Sundays and holidays, none is weirder than the installation of over a thousand parking meters in the middle of a deserted urban prairie. They were recently replaced by the latest electronic payboxes, many of which are still awaiting their first customer.
posted by theodolite on Sep 22, 2011 - 106 comments

Didn't win? There's always next year...

The 2011 MacArthur “Genius" Fellowships have been announced ('07, '08, '09, '10 on the Blue). Among the recipients is Chicago-based architect Jeanne Gang. The 82-story Aqua Tower is her first skyscraper, and stands as the tallest building in the world designed by a woman.

"You know, a lot of architects get into fetishized objects,” she said to me. “But when you can design anything you want without actually having to make it, you do wild things that can’t work. And that’s not what I want to do.”
posted by obscurator on Sep 20, 2011 - 71 comments

I'm going 'cause I want to come back here

Between 1967 and 1973, a program called The Foundation Years brought fifteen young African-American men from Chicago's West Side to Dartmouth College. The students were gang members, most of them Vice Lords.
posted by catlet on Aug 26, 2011 - 19 comments

The Interrupters: Documenting CeaseFire on the streets of Chicago

The Interrupters is a new film from Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here) about the work of CeaseFire's Violence Interrupters (previously), who work to prevent violence in Chicago with direct intervention and mediation. The film follows Ameena Matthews, the daughter of of a notorious gang leader; Eddie Bocanegra, who teaches art to children and is driven by remorse for a murder he committed when he was seventeen; and the charismatic Cobe Williams, who recently joined James and Kotlowitz for an interview with WFMT's Andrew Patner. Some of the videos contain strong language and scenes of violence.
posted by hydrophonic on Aug 10, 2011 - 10 comments

I will kill the first person who mentions Ender's Game

Fleet Commander. That is all.
posted by anigbrowl on Jul 15, 2011 - 50 comments

The first planetarium in the western hemisphere is now the most technologically advanced

Adler Planetarium, founded in 1930, was the first planetarium in the western hemisphere, and is a US national monument. Until recently, the planetarium was run with a Zeiss Projector (Mark IV) that was around 40 years old. The proposed upgrade was controversial in the 2008 presidential elections, as $3 million in federal funding was earmarked for the $14 million project. In the end, the high-tech projection system was funded. The result: the world's most advanced planetarium system, with a 64 megapixel resolution display, provided by 20 individually modified projectors, 42 GPUs and run with the help of 84 servers. And it can be controlled from an iPad or X-Box controller.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 12, 2011 - 30 comments

Jazz Age Chicago

Scott Newman's Jazz Age Chicago is a guide to every major movie theater, department store, sporting arena, amusement park, grand hotel and dance hall that operated in the Windy City during the 1920s.
posted by Iridic on Jul 11, 2011 - 13 comments

Obama goes to China

Obama proposes Social Security cuts. Amid ongoing debt talks wherein the Democrats are seeking to raise the debt ceiling to prevent the default of Federal debt, "entitlement reform" has been a hot topic. This morning, Obama has taken the unusual step of proposing even larger spending cuts than Republicans have asked for, mystifying many. Has the Grand Bargain arrived?
posted by mek on Jul 7, 2011 - 363 comments

Chicago's L

If you're a Chicagoan or have even a passing interest in Chicago's 'L', Chicago "L".org is an amazingly comprehensive resource for anything you might want to know about the Second City's rapid transit system. Highlights include historic route maps, details on rolling stock past and present, and more than you could ever want to know about every station. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Jun 23, 2011 - 41 comments

Browbeaten, weary-eyed, terribly optimistic units of the boobilariat.

Ben Hecht, arguably one of the greatest screenwriters in Hollywood history, started his career in the (sometimes literally) cutthroat world of Jazz Age journalism at the Chicago Daily News. Throughout 1921 he wrote a series of remarkable vignettes collectively titled the Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago: stories of drifters, fops, and artists from Michigan Avenue to Chinatown, but most of all a fond portrait of the city itself. Collected in book form and gorgeously illustrated, the Thousand and One Afternoons are in the public domain and readily available online. Each story is four or five short pages in length, and goes great with coffee.
posted by theodolite on May 31, 2011 - 10 comments

Home Alone house for sale (I got nuthin').

The north Chicago house featured in the movie Home Alone is for sale. Asking price? 2.4 million dollars.
posted by zardoz on May 19, 2011 - 32 comments

Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics, and Spirituality

"I realized that I was one of those extremely rare individuals who was a former POW of the drug war, and who got out and had the opportunity to share his story with the world." "It kind of makes an activist out of you when 3 helicopters land in your backyard and guys jump out with guns and destroy your place before your very eyes." Exile Nation is a documentary [complete film] [trailer] and an ongoing memoir, a work of “spiritual journalism”, and eventually "a documentary archive of interviews and testimonies […] revealing the far-ranging consequences of the War on Drugs to the American Criminal Justice System." [more inside]
posted by nTeleKy on May 13, 2011 - 11 comments

Mama Shaq!

It is that time of year again... And Scav Hunt has begun! [more inside]
posted by bibliogrrl on May 5, 2011 - 15 comments

Ultra Local Geography

Ultra Local Geography documents the everyday architecture of Chicago with detailed drawings and neighborhood historical research. [more inside]
posted by enn on May 4, 2011 - 12 comments

800-588-2300...

Lynn Haludren, better known as the Empire Carpet Man, died yesterday at the age of 89. [more inside]
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! on Apr 27, 2011 - 83 comments

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