Notes & Calendar 6/21/17

A week’s worth of developing stories, events, and signs of the times, culled from the desks, inboxes, and wandering eyes of the editors


Reading, Writing, and Race

Data obtained by DNAinfo show that fewer than twenty-five percent of Chicago students actually attend their neighborhood public school, down from about forty-five percent ten years ago. The 2006-07 school year had only nine charter schools citywide; today there are seventy-one. White students make up a larger proportion of selective enrollment schools than they do of neighborhood schools (23.5 percent versus 10.2 percent. Black students, too, are being aggressively recruited into non-neighborhood charter schools. Take Englewood—its high school-aged population is the sixth highest in the city, but only eleven percent attend one of the neighborhood schools not closed back in 2013. CPS plans to build a $75 million “state-of-the-art” school where Englewood’s Robeson now sits and merge it with charter school TEAM Englewood Community Academy and three other schools with declining enrollment, rather than encouraging enrollment and improvements at the existing neighborhood schools. There’s a worm in the teacher’s apple.

Is the Reader (and the Sun-Times) Saved?

All is not yet lost for the state of Chicago journalism—as the clock ticked down to Monday’s 5pm deadline, former North Side alderman Edwin Eisendrath announced a bid to buy the Sun-Times and the Reader, the city’s largest and second most beloved alt weekly. A group of about a dozen investors—the Chicago Federation of Labor being the largest—raised $15 million to purchase the papers from their holding company, Wrapports LLC. Although Eisendrath, who is currently a managing partner at an international consulting firm, had been interested in buying the Sun-Times since last year, he hadn’t put the plan into action until the Tribune’s parent company, tronc, announced its plans to take over its rival daily. Seeking to preserve competition, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division advised Wrapports to seek other bidders as well. With the backing of the AFL-CIO’s Cook County umbrella organization, which includes 320 unions and 500,000 members, Eisendrath’s plan for the Sun-Times is perhaps unsurprising: to build a paper for the people, using “99 percent” rhetoric in an interview with Robert Feder. While Eisendrath and CFL’s full plans for the papers have not been revealed, it’s likely they will be far preferable to whatever tronc proposes shoving down its funnel.

Bringing the New Regal Theater into “The Future”

Under relatively new ownership, the long-shuttered New Regal movie house in Avalon Park will reopen this October, proprietor Jerald Gary claims, as a…hologram theater. If this strikes you as vaguely familiar, perhaps you’re thinking of Chief Keef’s ill-fated planned holographic show at the Redmoon Theater in 2015 that became fodder for mayoral action and days of Sun-Times headlines. It may not shock you to learn that the same man—Greek “billionaire-by-inheritance” Alki David—is behind both schemes. It would be wonderful if the New Regal reopens, of course, holograms or no—but an Alki David quote from 2015 gives one pause: “You watch: Chief Keef is going to become the hologram hip-hop guy.” That hasn’t panned out. Will the new New Regal?



Summer Volunteer Orientation

The Plant, 1400 W. 46th St. Saturday, July 1, 10am–5pm.

Interested in sustainable food production and energy conservation? Volunteer with The Plant to create a more sustainable and healthier Chicago. The Plant opens its garden on Saturdays for volunteers to help set up and take down their farmers market, build soil, tend to their chickens, and more! Volunteers may choose among three shifts. Volunteers under 18 must have a parent/guardian sign a waiver form. (Roderick Sawyer)

South Side Code and Coffee

Sip & Savor Chicago, 528 E. 43rd St. Tuesday, June 27, 7am.

Code & Coffee is a weekly morning meet-up for coders, tech folk, and other like-minded individuals looking to start their day started with a little caffeine and camaraderie. This week it takes place at Sip & Savor in Bronzeville—so attendees will also be supporting a South Side business. (Michael Wasney)

Food Deserts, Domestic Architecture & Black Design

Northeastern Illinois University Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd. Thursday, June 22, 6pm–8pm. Free. (773) 702-2388.

The Black Metropolis Research Consortium is an association of archival institutions aiming to document Black culture and history in Chicago. Join the BMRC’s Summer Fellows in a discussion about the history of food access, migration and architecture, and housing activism in Chicago. (Elaine Chen)

Golden 29th Anniversary Ghana Fest 2017

Washington Park, 5500 S. Russell Dr. Saturday, July 29, 10am–10pm. $10 donation at entrance gate.

Celebrate the twenty-ninth anniversary of Ghana Fest! Hosted by the Ghana National Council of Chicago, Ghana Fest will feature food vendors, live bands, raffle prizes, and youth activities. Bring your whole family for a day of Ghanaian culture, food, and art, this year also celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of Ghana’s independence with the theme “Unity in Motion.” (Elaine Chen)

5th Ward Aldermanic Monthly Meeting

LaRabida Children’s Hospital, 6501 S. Promontory Point Dr. Tuesday, June 27, 6pm. The last Tuesday each month, in different locations around or near the ward. Contact the 5th Ward Service Office for details or questions at 2325 E. 71st St., or (773) 324-5555.

If this meeting is anything like last month’s meeting, it is fair to say there will be suspense, intrigue, and drama. Will 71st Street get down-zoned? Will Jeffery Plaza finally get a grocery store? What’s going up behind the cordoned-off area at the Mobil station on 67th Street? For the (possible) answers to these and more concerning the 5th Ward,  plan to attend this month’s meeting! (Nicole Bond)


La Cultura Cura: A Cooperative Market for Barrio Sustainability

La Catrina Café, 1011 W. 18th St. Saturday, June 24, 12pm–8pm.

ChiResists will be hosting “La Cultura Cura: Mercadito Cooperativa del Barrio”—or, a cooperative market for neighborhood sustainability—at La Catrina Café. It’s an all-day event, featuring two rooms of artists and vendors, a Poetry Open Mic at 5pm, and Candlelight Yoga at 6pm. The event is free, although donations are accepted. (Michael Wasney)

6th Annual PreHouse Picnic Gear Grab

Pier 31 Restaurant, 3101 S. Lake Shore Dr. Friday, June 30, 4pm–9pm. Free.

Join It’s House Baby and enjoy great sounds with DJ Mickey Calvin, Vernell L Byrd, DJ LadyD, and DJ Lil John. Enjoy the lakefront, cocktails, food from the kitchen, and great DJs on a day some call “Xmas for house heads.” House music tees will also be on sale. (Roderick Sawyer)

Excavation – History of the Site and Architecture of the NMMA

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Thursday, June 22, 6pm–8pm.

Join artist Georgina Valverde, architectural historian Marlise Fratinardo, and Chief Curator Cesáreo Moreno as they explore the history and architecture of the National Museum of Mexican Art itself and how it’s impacted her recent sculpture. (Roderick Sawyer)

Family Day: Power Pocket Books

Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. Saturday, July 1, 1pm–4pm. Free. (773) 702-0900.

Kids ages four to twelve can come to the Smart at the beginning of next month to learn from guest artist Olivia Leyva how to make pocket books. All materials will be provided to stitch personal books together for writing, drawing, or other art projects. (Roderick Sawyer)


Westside Gunn & Conway

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Friday, June 23, 7pm. $16-$20. 18+. (312) 949-0120.

Join Reggies as they host Westside Gunn & Conway, DJ Green Lantern, and Benny & Daringer. Westside Gunn and Conway are two brothers from Buffalo, New York who have been making waves in the underground rap scene making “hard-as-fuck 90s-style New York rap with just the right dose of weirdness.” Both have recently signed with Eminem’s Shady Records and are working on solo albums in addition to a duo album. (Roderick Sawyer)

Blue Summer

The Dojo, send Facebook message for address. Saturday, July 8, 7pm. $5 donation suggested.

The Dojo presents “Blue Summer,” a night of music, art, and community. Four music groups—Woodrow Hart & the Haymaker, Clamor and Claw, Peggy Tenderass, and Red 255—will perform alongside the “Blue Summer Art Room” that’s been created. The Dojo’s gallery space will showcase the work of multiple other artists. (Michael Wasney)

Ying Yang Twins

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. June 23, 10pm. 21+. $18-$350 (312) 801-2100.

If you have a hankering for early 2000s Dirty South classics like “Salt Shaker, “Get Low,” and, of course, “Wait (The Whisper Song),” the Ying Yang Twins—who haven’t released an album since 2009—are descending upon the Promontory this weekend as part of throwback jam party Country Grammar, which describes itself as “focusing on the traditional sounds” of several Southern cities—though noticeably absent is St. Louis, the subject of Nelly’s seminal “Country Grammar (Hot Shit).” Regardless, a highlight should be witnessing who in the audience elects to purchase the $350 VIP tables. (Sam Stecklow)

Shobaleader One

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Sunday, July 2, doors 7:30pm, show 8:30pm. $22-$28. 17+ (312) 526-3851.

British electronic and multi-instrumental recording artist Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, will bring his live band Shobaleader One, which includes Strobe Nazard, Company Laser, and Arg Nution, for his Thalia Hall debut. In addition to live versions of Squarepusher classics, they will be performing songs from Shobaleader One’s repertoire, including their new release Elektrac, which is out now on Warp Records. (Andrew Koski)


The Batman Lego Movie at Beverly Arts Cinema

Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Wednesday, June 21, 7:30pm. $6, $4 children. (773) 445-3838.

This animated Batman saga featuring characters made of Legos was scheduled long before the recent passing of television’s original Batman, Adam West—but now it’s a family-friendly way to remember the wit he gave to the character, voiced by Will Arnett for this film. (Nicole Bond)

Behind The Canvas with April Clark: Session One

South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. Sunday, July 2, 5pm–7:30pm. Free.

Join visual artist April Clark for her live painting event. Watch her transform a blank canvas right before your eyes, in an entertaining conversational style—including actual conversation with Clark, trivia, and “more.” For example, visit and take a survey for a chance to win a free gift. (Nicole Bond)

Jazz in the Courtyard

Hyde Park Shopping Center, 55th St. and Lake Park Ave. Friday, July 7, 12pm–2pm, and every first Friday through September 1. Free.

Nothing says summer in Hyde Park like the annual free live jazz concerts every first Friday at the Hyde Park Shopping Center. Grab lunch from any of the many restaurants nearby, then sit outside to enjoy the sounds of The Bosman Twins on July 7, the Chris Foreman Quintet August 4, and the Chicago State University Community Jazz Band conducted by Roxanne Stevenson on September 1. (Nicole Bond)

How Is My Kid Doing?

Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave. Thursday, July 6, 6:30pm–8pm. Free. To RSVP email (773) 358-4100.

This free documentary film screening, presented as part of GCYC Uplift adult community programming, explores how youth from various communities, including Chicago, are impacted by unequal education. There will be free refreshments and a discussion after the film with the filmmakers. (Nicole Bond)

The Artists Lounge Open Mic

South Side Community Arts Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. Friday, July 7 and usually every first and third Friday, 7pm–10:30pm. $7, $5 performers. (773) 373-1026.

This multi-genre open mic, started in 2015 as a collaboration between wordsmiths Dometi Pongo and Johnetta “Awthentic Poetry”Anderson, is back for the summer in July. Poets, singers, emcees, musicians, and visual artists alike can showcase their talent most first and third Fridays of the month at their newest home, the historic South Side Community Arts Center. (Nicole Bond)

A Night at the Movies: Within Our Gates

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Thursday, July 13, 8pm–9:30pm. Free, donations will be taken for the musicians. (773) 324-5520.

Oscar Micheaux, the first major Black feature filmmaker credited with over forty-four films, tells the story of a woman who travels north to raise funds to keep a southern school for Black children open, but she discovers more than fundraising along the way. This 1920 silent film, Within Our Gates, is presented as part of the Comfort Station Silent Films and Loud Music Series, which pairs classic silent films with unconventional bands—at this event, local composer and performer Paul Giallorenzo. (Nicole Bond)

Soulful Chicago Book Fair

E. 61st St. between S. Martin Luther King Dr. and S. Cottage Grove Ave. Sunday,  July 16, 10am–8pm. (646) 359-6605.

The Soulful Chicago Book Fair will bring more than one hundred Black authors, such as the writers from F.L.O.W—For the Love of Writing, previously featured in the Weekly, and Grammy-level entertainment, to a stretch of 61st Street south of Washington Park in the Woodlawn neighborhood. It’s billed as Chicago’s only author-centric festival, with each block featuring a different genre. (Joseph S. Pete)

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