Notes & Calendar 10/11/17

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


JPW Posts a Status Update

On October 5, Jackson Park Watch (JPW) announced its incorporation as a nonprofit organization in Illinois. Envisioning Jackson Park as a public space that should have transparent development processes with community input, JPW is one of the community advocates calling for a more inclusive development plan from Jackson Park’s next big project—the Obama Presidential Center (OPC), of course. On that front, former President Barack Obama just articulated his disapproval of the most vocal and radical among these advocates, the CBA Coalition. On the other end of the spectrum, another major community force, the Woodlawn, Washington Park, and South Shore Community and Economic Development Organization (WWPSS), is compliant and enjoys close ties with the OPC: Arne Duncan, former Secretary of Education under Obama, is now WWPSS’s co-chair. Given this state of affairs, JPW’s official nonprofit status might give fresh blood to this long-drawn-out fight to address the concerns of Jackson Park’s surrounding communities. But to do so, JPW needs to offer articulated plans about the legal counsel it will now have, which the organization claims will be the major destination of future funds.

Kanye’s Childhood Home “All Falls Down”

Back in November 2016, rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith announced his purchase of the childhood home of superstar Kanye West. Located off South Shore Drive, the house is severely dilapidated due to longtime neglect, and the hopes of the South Shore community ran high when they learned about its upcoming renovation for a good cause: a community arts incubator. But now, nearly a year later, Kanye’s old house is facing the wrecking ball, since architects say the structural damage is too severe for any meaningful renovation. Instead, Rhymefest plans to build the facility and nonprofit headquarters for Donda’s House Inc. upon the demolished house. Sounds good, except now the simple idea of a permanent home for cultivating young hip-hop artists is growing into a million-dollar project. A fundraiser is scheduled for November 28, and we wish Rhymefest all the best.

The ‘ICE Airlines’ Hub: Gary/Chicago International Airport

Dozens protested last week outside of the Gary/Chicago International Airport, some eight miles across the state border with Indiana, hoping to call attention to the humming deportation business operating out of the airport. Chicago’s two airports are controlled directly by Mayor Emanuel through the Chicago Department of Aviation. As Emanuel is attempting to reinvent himself in Chicago as every immigrant’s best friend after pushing harsh immigration measures in the 1990s, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has contracted flights through Gary Airport with a private charter plane company, deporting roughly 3,000 people a year since 2013, according to the Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune. The airport’s governing body has attempted to shrug off responsibility for the deportations, describing itself as a “third party,” but this is a flimsy excuse for profiteering from deportations. “You can follow the white buses most Friday mornings from Broadview, Illinois, to the airport entrance in Gary,” protester and Indiana University professor emerita Ruth Needleman wrote in a recent op-ed. “The buses have covered windows and are accompanied by a McHenry County Sheriff’s Department bus. The people awaiting deportation are in shackles.”

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What Would It Take? A Youth–Inspired Community Conversation

The Renaissance Collaborative, 3757 S. Wabash Ave. Thursday, October 12, 6:30pm–7:30pm. Free. (773) 924-9270.

Based around WBEZ’s ongoing Every Other Hour series (referring to the average amount of time a person is shot in Chicago), this event will feature young people from around the city sharing stories about gun violence and what it would take to stop it. Food will be provided in a reception afterward. (Sam Stecklow)

Chicago and Women’s Labor History Tour

Starts at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, 2233 S. King Dr. Friday, October 13, 9am–5pm. $30, including lunch and a brewery stop. (312) 942-1444.

Learn about Chicago’s rich history in labor, and particularly female labor, with this Illinois Labor History Society–run tour of South Side labor, including the Stockyards, Steelworkers’ Park on the Far Southeast Side, Ida B. Wells’s home, and the Pullman Sleeping Car Porters Headquarters. (Sam Stecklow)

Obama Presidential Center Panel

DuSable Museum of African-American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Saturday, October 14, 2pm–3pm. (773) 947-0600.

The latest in the never-ending series of public events surrounding the impending Obama Presidential Center, this one is a panel conversation about the design of the Center, featuring director Dr. Louise Bernard and members of the design team Amanda Williams and Andres Luis Hernandez. This is likely to be less contentious than many of the other events around the Center, as it is moderated by Monica Chadha, another member of the design team. (Sam Stecklow)

Englewood Hope Walk

6600 S. Hermitage Ave. Saturday, October 14, 10am–1pm. Free. Recommended 16+.

Take advantage of this week’s warm weather and join the Englewood Hope Group this Saturday for the Englewood Hope Walk to help survey Englewood on what the community needs most. Walkers don’t have to go further than two city blocks, and will help community groups identify and meet the needs of Englewood. Sign up online. (Clyde Schwab)

Understanding Indigenous Roots: An Intercultural Discourse

South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. Sunday, October 15, 3pm–5pm. $12, $10 SSCAC members. (773) 373-1026.

The second of two conversations about Native- and African-American intercultural relations (the first was at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston), this event examines “shared histories and unifying connections” between Chicagoland’s indigenous and Black communities. Part of the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s Inherit Chicago festival. (Sam Stecklow)

TRiiBE Tuesday: Cuffing Season Edition

Refuge Live, 416 S. Clark St. Tuesday, October 17, 7pm–11pm. 21+.

It’s that time of the year again: cuffing season, when even the most stalwart of soloists start looking for love. That’s why the TRiiBE is hosting a “Cuffing Season Edition” of TRiiBE Tuesday, their once-a-month happy hour and panel series at the Refuge Live. Rome J is hosting, DJ Gemini Jones is spinning, and panelists will be discussing the hot (and not) of dating and relationships amongst Black millennials in Chicago. Sparks are guaranteed to fly. (Michael Wasney)

Hospital-Based Interventions to Reduce Violence and Recidivism

The MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, 5812 S. Ellis Ave. Wednesday, October 18, 4pm. (773) 702-1453.

Dr. Rochelle Dicker of the University of California, San Francisco is delivering a talk on ways hospitals can reduce violence and recidivism amongst their communities. In the last two years, her research has considered violence and trauma prevention in hospitals around the world, including in Uganda, India, and the United States. (Michael Wasney)

The Targeted Other: Shared Experience of Japanese and Arab Americans

UIC Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted St. #302. Thursday, October 19, 7pm–9pm. Free. (312) 413-5100.

Drawing connections between how Japanese-Americans were treated during World War II and how Arab-Americans are treated in post-9/11 America, this conversation hosted by a plethora of Japanese and Arab organizations aims to tell personal stories from individuals in both communities about living in a “society where one’s own culture makes them a target for hatred.” Part of the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s Inherit Chicago festival. (Sam Stecklow)

Jackalope Coffee & Tea House 5 Year Anniversary Block Party

Jackalope Coffee & Tea House, 755 W. 32nd Street. Saturday, October 14, 11am-5pm. Free. (312) 888-3468.

Celebrate five years of great coffee and wacky decorations at Bridgeport’s Jackalope coffeehouse with this free block party, featuring live music, a bounce house, balloon animals, astrologists, vintage vendors, and more. (Sam Stecklow)


Altar Call: The Architecture of Black Sacred Space

Rootwork Gallery, 645 W. 18th St. Opening Friday, October 13, 6pm–10pm, exhibition through December 16. Free opening. (917) 821-3050.

In Rootwork’s latest exhibition, supported by the Chicago Architecture Biennial, curator Tracie D. Hall posits architecture and altar-keeping as a Black practice of sacred space. From Diasporal Rhythms president and art collector Patric McCoy to Afrofuturist Krista Franklin to Englewood photographer Tonika Johnson, the many artists featured in this exhibition promise a variety of interpretations that demand to be seen. (Julia Aizuss)

CYBERDELIC: From Pilsen to Pluto, Yollocalli’s 20th Birthday Celebration

Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St. Friday, October 13, 6pm–10pm. Free. (773) 521-1621.

Yollocalli Arts Reach is celebrating its twentieth birthday with an exhibit featuring art from the past two decades, installations, and more. An initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art, Yollocalli was created to provide opportunities for young people, especially those in the Pilsen area (and now Little Village), to explore their artistic talents. The word comes from the Aztec language and means something like “heart-house.” Yollocalli has evolved to include an open community center in the heart of Little Village with a computer lab, radio production studio, and an art library. It also has regular shows on Lumpen Radio. (Adam Przybyl)

Pintura Obscura

The Surreal Rabbit, 2059 W. 18th St. Reception Friday, October 13, 7pm–10pm; exhibition through October 27. Free. (312) 285-2795.

If you’re craving some pre-Halloween spookiness, put on your most macabre outfit and check out Pilsen-based art hub Surreal Rabbit’s “Pintura Obscura,” an exhibit centered on exploring artists’ subconscious. There will be monsters, creepy art, and drinks—what more do you need? (Clyde Schwab)

Rare Earth: Performance by Growing Concerns Collective

Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. Thursday, October 19, 6:30pm–7:30pm. Free; reserve tickets online.

An upcoming segment of Rare Earth, an exhibition series by Theaster Gates, will feature Growing Concerns Poetry Collective, a group that uses hip-hop poetry and lyrical narrative to address social issues. Viewers can see the show in an outdoor pavilion along Garfield Boulevard next Thursday. (Clyde Schwab)

“I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” Book Release

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Friday, October 20, 6pm–8:30pm. Free. (312) 738-1503.

Erika L. Sánchez, a second-generation Mexican American and Princeton professor, has come back to her native Chicago to read excerpts of her debut novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. Sánchez, who also published the poetry chapbook Letters on Expulsion earlier this year, will talk about how she wrote her first novel around a pair of sisters, parental expectations, and an unexpected tragedy. (Joseph S. Pete)

Día de los Muertos Xicágo

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Sunday, October 29, 3pm–8pm. Free. Street parking limited. Deadline to submit photos October 15.

In its original Aztec form, Day of the Dead was a festival dedicated to the goddess of Death and would last an entire month. Spanish influence moved it to coincide with the Western Christian holidays of Allhallowtide, like All Saints’ Eve (Halloween), but it’s kept many of the old traditions and rituals, like building ofrendas (altars to the dead), face painting, and Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead). Come commemorate this special day in these ways and more at the National Museum of Mexican Art two days before Halloween. You may even send a picture of a departed loved one to celebrate their memory as part of a larger ofrenda. (Adam Przybyl)


The Old Comiskeys

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Friday, October 13, 7pm. 21+. $8–$10. (312) 949-0120.

As their name might suggest, The Old Comiskeys are a South Side punk band. They’re having a record release show at Reggies with some great Chicago-based openers—Nightcap, No Dead Heroes, and Hymen Moments—that shouldn’t be missed. (Andrew Koski)

Tony! Toni! Tone!

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. October 13, 7pm doors, 8pm show, and 9:30pm doors, 10:30pm show. $38–$78, all ages. (312) 801-2100.

“If It Feels Good” knowing “It Never Rains in Southern California,” it will feel even better hearing the trio who penned these songs sing them live this week at The Promontory. The Oakland family trio will perform these classic chart-topping songs for an all-ages show with something for everyone. Enjoy laid-back front row VIP table seating or make the night an R&B dance party in the standing lounge. Cousin Amor Khalil, now on lead vocals since Raphael Saadiq’s departure, will not disappoint; at first glance you will even think it’s him. (Nicole Bond)

Fundraiser for Mexico & Puerto Rico

The Dojo, message on Facebook for address. Friday, October 13, 9pm–2am. Donations accepted via both cash and credit card.

The Dojo is teaming up with several bands—including MALADICTO, Kelroy, Súbele, and DJ Angelfuk—this Friday for a fundraising concert, art exhibit, and live painting in support of relief efforts for the recent environmental disasters in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Come out to support the cause, as well as, of course, the performers—this will be Kelroy’s first time at the Dojo. (Julia Aizuss)   

Benjamin Booker

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Monday, October 16, 7:30pm doors, 8:30pm show. $20 in advance, $22 at the door. 17+. (312) 526-3851.

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Benjamin Booker comes to Thalia Hall with a sound that has been described by the Tribune as “a raw brand of blues/bougie/soul.” The Virginia-born, Tampa Bay, Florida–bred artist’s most recent album Witness was released in June and written primarily in Mexico City. (Adia Robinson)

Selena Tribute Night

Punch House, 1227 W. 18th St. Wednesday, October 18, 9pm–2am. Free. (312) 526-3851.

Dance the night away to the music of Selena, one of the biggest Tejana and Latina pop stars ever, spun by DJ’s Alive Girl and Ariel Zet. (Sam Stecklow)


Cauleen Smith: CAL – CHI – CAL

Harris Park, 6200 S. Drexel Ave. Wednesday, October 11, 6:30pm. Free.

Join celebrated experimental filmmaker and multimedia artist Cauleen Smith for a screening of selections from some of her films as well as a discussion about Chicago’s influence on her entire body of work. This our chance to say farewell to the artist we’ve claimed as our own since 2010, as she moves on to share her talent with the California Institute of Arts. (Nicole Bond)

Indigo Nations (mod)AMERICANA Denim Exhibition

Chicago Art Department, 1932 S. Halsted Ave. Friday, October 13, 6pm–10pm. (312) 725-4223.

AMFM, in collaboration with Runwayaddicts and Off-Kilter Magazine, presents an “abstract exploration” of denim culture in modern America. The exhibition will feature interactive art installations, fashion presentations, and live music. (Nicole Bond)


Stony Island Arts Bank, 6700 S. Stony Island Ave. Friday, October 13, 7pm–10pm. (312) 857-5561.

This 2016 LA Film Festival selection, starring poet Saul Williams and Rwandan actress Anisia Uzeyman, mixes the ebb and flow of a love story with the annoyances of a road trip against the backdrop of a series of performances and backstage glimpses of the Afro-Punk music movement.  The screening is a Black Cinema House presentation in collaboration with the Gary International Black Film Festival. (Nicole Bond) 

The Man With the Golden Arm

Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Wednesday, October 18, 7:30pm. $6, $5 for BAC members. (773) 445-3838.

A “true Chicago classic,” per the event page, this 1955 Frank Sinatra/Kim Novak-starring noir thriller based on the novel by Nelson Algren features drugs, card games, and also, if we didn’t already mention, Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak. (Sam Stecklow)

An Evening of Horror and Suspense VIII

Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn Ave. Saturday, October 21, 7pm. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. (773) 493-6451.

This makes the eighth year the Hyde Park Community Players have revived old-time radio plays complete with live spooky sound effects for the Halloween season. This year’s frightening features, directed by Shonte Wesson, are: Valse Triste and The Flame by Arch Oboler; Evening Primrose, based on the John Collier short story; and an adaptation of the Edgar Allen Poe poem “The Raven.” (Nicole Bond)

The Poet: World Premiere

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Dr. Sunday, October 29, 4pm. $50–$175.

The South Shore Opera Company of Chicago works to bring opera and musical theater to underserved communities on the South Side, and to present rarely performed work by black composers. For its annual fundraising gala, it will perform “The Poet: A Chamber Opera on the Life of Paul Laurence Dunbar,” the acclaimed poet who Frederick Douglass fittingly called “one of the sweetest songsters.” (Joseph S. Pete)

The Revolution Will Not Be Improvised

The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St. Every Saturday through November 11, 7:30pm. $5–$15.

Ever since Gil Scott-Heron, people have speculated on what the revolution will not be. The Revival’s Fall South Side Sketch Comedy Review adds to that conversation and wrings needed laughs out of the current sociopolitical climate. Max Thomas, Elias Rios, Jared Chapman, Lexi Alioto, Sara Savusa, and Mo Phillips-Spotts blend improv humor and music under the direction of Molly Todd Madison. (Joseph S. Pete)

eta Family Theatre Initiative: The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves

eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Friday, October 20–Saturday, December 23. $40, discounts available for seniors and students. (773) 752-3955.

Nora Brooks Blakely’s musical adaptation of a book by her mother Gwendolyn Brooks was already a fitting choice, in the year of the Brooks centennial, to start off eta’s 2017–18 season. Even more fitting, given Brooks’s dedication to youth poetry, is that the musical will launch eta’s partnership with the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation. The initiative will encourage Chicago students to read the book and then to see the musical. (Julia Aizuss)

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