Notes & Calendar 10/25/17

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


Neighborhood Amazon Opportunity Funds”

In case city leaders hadn’t made it clear that Amazon should make its new home here, the city made it extra clear with a $2.25 billion incentive package. The city’s bid provides Amazon with extensive tax breaks and free land if Amazon builds its headquarters at the Thompson Center or the former Michael Reese Hospital in Bronzeville. Leaders promise that the money will come back to the people through jobs: $250 million of the incentive package will include investments in workforce development, though funds will be redirected from City College funding and “Neighborhood Opportunity Funds,” grants “to help rebuild long-neglected Chicago neighborhoods with contributions developers make in exchange for being allowed to build bigger and taller buildings” downtown, according to the Sun-Times. And with the city government’s checkered history of making good on such promises, Chicagoans need to ask who’s being prioritized: the people or the corporation?


Last Thursday, activists, attorneys, elected officials, and undocumented residents of the 10th Ward gathered outside a Southeast Side church to protest what they described as deceptive arrest techniques by Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE): wearing vests that simply read “POLICE” and not immediately identifying as ICE officers. An attorney from the National Immigrant Justice Center said that three recent arrestees from the area believed they had been interacting with the Chicago Police Department—subject to the Sanctuary City policy—instead of ICE, and that the Far Southeast Side has been seeing increased rates of ICE arrests. It is currently unknown how many of those arrests may be due to individuals being wrongly listed as gang members by the CPD’s internal database, which would allow CPD to share information with ICE.

Restoration Efforts Ablaze

Over the winter, the Shrine of Christ the King church on 64th and Woodlawn will get a new roof: the culmination of two years of fundraising efforts. In October 2015, the roof and interior of the Church went up in flames spontaneously, undoing a decade of restoration work on the church. The church congregation has since raised $2.2 million, cleared out the wreckage within the church, and repaired the fire-charred walls. In addition, on October 11 the National Fund for Sacred Spaces and the National Trust for Historic Preservation donated a $250,000 matching grant. Once completed in the spring, the roof will bring the church that much closer to being reopened—but installing new heating, plumbing, electricity, and more will take at least a year longer and as much as $4 million more in funds.

CPS Eats Its Words on Special Ed

As last week’s WBEZ investigation uncovered, Chicago Public Schools has been systematically reducing services for special education students: the district hired consultants to develop new guidelines that limited the use of busing, personal aides, and summer school; shut parents out of the process; and both cut funds and left some special education funds unexplained, further obscuring its spending. CPS also spent fewer special education dollars in schools with more poor students of color. As of press time, a petition calling for CPS CEO Forrest Claypool’s firing and the restoration of funds and direct services had reached 948 signatures. The investigation validates what parents and educators have been saying at school board meetings, in downtown protests, and on social media for over a year. Until recently, CPS continuously denied that special education services had been cut, despite repeated testimony at public hearings, a letter signed by over six hundred local school council members, and a survey by the teachers union. Let’s hope CPS finally listens.

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Annual Halloween Festival and Haunted House

Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave. Saturday, October 28, 1pm–5pm. Free admission and all ages for the festival. For the haunted house: 8+. $3 adults, $2 youth.

It’s that time of the year again—the Gary Comer Youth Center will host its annual Halloween Festival featuring carnival games, live performances by the Jesse White Tumbling Team, and magic performed by Benjamin Barnes. For more spooks and ghouls, the door to the Haunted House is ajar and awaiting. (Yunhan Wen)

Filmmaker Haile Gerima’s Sankofa: Resistance Then & Now

Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Saturday, October 28, 3pm–7pm. Free. More information and RSVP at

Haile Gerima, renowned filmmaker and a leading member of the LA Rebellion movement, will introduce his best-known film Sankofa (1993), a story about slavery across the globe. The discussion will touch upon issues such as racism, identity, and culture. This event is part of Inherit Chicago. (Yunhan Wen)

Stories of Displacement

Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, 6500 S. Pulaski Ave. Saturday, October 28, 12pm– 2pm. (773) 582-6500.

As part of its roving programming before it officially launches, the National Public Housing Museum is hosting a pop-up exhibit at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture on the Southwest Side. Focusing on stories of displaced people, in Chicago and around the world, the exhibit is interactive and encourages patrons to participate. (Sam Stecklow)

Calumet Heritage Conference

Lebanon Lutheran Church, 13100 S. Manistee Ave. Saturday, October 28, 8:30am–4:30pm. $20-$30. (312) 646-0436. Registration required.

The annual Calumet Heritage Conference celebrates those who have worked on the vision for a bi-state Calumet Ecological Park and a Calumet National Heritage Area over the past few decades, including by preserving diverse neighborhoods, cultural heritage, and a variegated ecosystem in the heavily industrialized area that Calumet rivers run through. It concludes with an interpretive tour of “the Region’s most iconic gems.” (Joseph S. Pete)

The Wall of Respect Book Release and Discussion

UofC Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, 5733 S. University Ave. Thursday, November 9, 6pm–8pm. Free. (773) 702-8063.

Join the editors of a new book about the Wall of Respect mural that was painted on an abandoned 43rd Street building in the 1960s. The Wall of Respect: Public Art and Black Liberation in 1960s Chicago. is an in-depth illustrated account of the mural’s creation that collects essays, poetry, and primary documents into one text. (Sam Stecklow)

Learn to be an African Heritage Cooking Superstar!

St. Ailbe Church, 9015 S. Harper Ave. Saturday, November 11, 12pm–3pm. Free. RSVP at

Loved this year’s Weekly article “Tradition in the Kitchen” and want to get involved in more A Taste of African Heritage cooking classes? Join the Ridgeland Block Club Association in the kitchen at St. Ailbe Church to learn how to teach your own A Taste of African Heritage class. “Get equipped with the skills, knowledge, and recipes to bring ‘Health through Heritage’ back to the community at your Church, Mosque or Community Group.” (Andrew Koski)

Clearing/Ford City Bus Tour

Corner of 63rd and Central. Sunday, November 12, 1pm. $20.

The bus tour will roll by architecturally significant factories and homes in the Clearing Industrial District, which once produced toothpaste, linoleum flooring, and more. The three-hour tour, which will provide plenty of stops for photographs, will also visit the Ford City defense plant that cranked out B-29 bomber engines during World War II and other points of note. (Joseph S. Pete)


Dia De Las Mujeres

The Port Ministries, 5017 S. Hermitage Ave. Saturday, October 28. 6pm–9pm. Free. (773) 778-5955.

The Day of the Dead inspired this annual fashion and art show staged by Mujeres Mutantes and The Port Ministries. Fashion designer Adriana Pena drew from traditional Mexican design when creating a line of clothing that was used as canvasses by various artists with the all-women collective. Look forward to music, dancing, and the unveiling of two new mural concepts. (Joseph S. Pete)

Wandering Bird

Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Saturday, November 4, 7:30pm. $25. (773) 445-3838.

Sandra Leonard supplies the performance and costumes, Sandra Kaufmann supplies the dance choreography, and you supply yourself to take part in this evening of “wearable sculpture, performance, and dance.” There will also be live—not wearable—music. (Julia Aizuss)

Christina Sharpe and Cauleen Smith in conversation

The UofC Classics Building (room 110), 1010 E. 59th St. Wednesday, October 25, 6pm–7pm. Free.

Inspired by “Tenderheaded,” The Ren’s current exhibition of paintings by Jennifer Packer, Duke professor Christina Sharpe and multimedia artist Cauleen Smith will come together to discuss subjects related to the paintings’ investments in black life, visibility, and loss. (Julia Aizuss)

Kay Hofmann: Forever Young

4th Ward Project Space, 5338 S. Kimbark Ave. Opening reception Sunday, October 29th, 4pm–7pm. Free. Through Saturday, December 2. (773) 203-2991.

Calling your exhibition “Forever Young” means something if, like Kay Hofmann, your art career has stretched sixty years and is still going strong. The stone she sculpts and polishes into small and medium landscape carvings are “hopeful and exuberant”—and what the exhibition promises. (Julia Aizuss)

YCA On The Block: Pilsen

La Catrina Café, 1011 W 18th St. Friday, October 27th, 6pm-8pm. Free. Runs every Friday for the next 6 weeks.

Hosted at La Catrina Cafe in collaboration with Yollocalli Arts Reach & La Catrina, Young Chicago Authors will be hosting free open mics and workshops there every Friday. Come through and learn how to write poems and hear others perform. (Roderick Sawyer)

Ziziphus Foliatus

Triumph, 2055 W. Cermak Rd. Saturday, November 4, 6pm–10pm. Free. (845) 553-0053.

Brooklyn-based, Austrian-born artist Maria Petschnig’s video work has been described by the New York Times as “like a gentler version of Viennese Actionism’s extreme body art.” Ziziphus foliatus seems to promise a botanical twist—Ziziphus being a genus of spiny shrubs—though the event description reads like a cryptic choose-your-own-adventure: “>you are standing in a long dim corridor of a white house. At the end, a boarded silver door. You have a Stable Field Emitter to open it with…[GO IN]…>there is a bullet proof vest on the barrel here…” Want more? Me too. Attend the gallery opening to “keep playing.” (Andrew Koski)


Ariel Pink at Thalia Hall

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Saturday, October 28, doors 7:30pm, show 8:30pm. $27 advance, $37 doors. 17+. (312) 526-3851.

Weird rock institution Ariel Pink comes to Thalia Hall in support of his latest album, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, in memory of a one-time rock star who languished and died in relative obscurity. (Think a more tragic version of Searching for Sugarman). Ariel Pink himself has seen his commercial fame wane a bit in the last few years, not that he seems to care; come see him ply his trade, aptly described by his label as “earnest genre drag.” (Christian Belanger)

David Archuleta

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Monday, October 30, doors 7pm, show 8pm. $17–$150. (312) 801-2100.

David Archuleta “doesn’t like attention, but deserves yours,” proclaims the description of Archuleta’s upcoming show on the Promontory’s website, which goes on to outline a career that remarkably makes no mention of his attention-bringing stint on American Idol. You will be able to give him even more attention if you pay for the $125 VIP experience of the concert; either way, fans will be able to head to the Promontory, where he’ll be singing “about the struggle of finding your own voice.” (Julia Aizuss)

$5 Fridays: Color Card, Easy Habits, Skip Trace

Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan Ave. Friday, November 3, doors 7pm, show 8pm–11pm. $5, free for Lumpen Radio members. Buy tickets online. (773) 837-0145.

Lumpen Radio debuts $5 Fridays with three local bands at the Co-Pro; they promise “bleary rock music and lasers.” Color Card, Easy Habits, and Skip Trace will no doubt provide the bleary rock music; it’s unclear whether they or the Lumpen team are responsible for the lasers. (Julia Aizuss)

I Got Life – The Music of Nina Simone

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West. Friday, November 3, doors 7pm, show 8pm. 21+. $17–$45. (312) 801-2100.

Singer Jaguar Wright and bassist Gerald Veasley, both jazz and soul artists hailing from Philadelphia, front an ensemble whose presentation and re-imagination of Nina Simone’s oeuvre will, The Promontory promises, result in “more than a concert.” (Julia Aizuss)


Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Friday, November 10, doors 7:30pm, show 8:30pm. $18–$25. 17+. (312) 526-3851.

Turnover is touching down in Chicago this November as part of its U.S. tour. And the indie darlings are bringing friends: special guests Elvis Depressedly and Emma Ruth Rundle are starting the night off. Bring your own friends for a music-filled night in the historic venue. (Michael Wasney)

The Dojo Presents: Queendom Come

The Dojo, message on Facebook for address. Saturday, November 18, doors 8pm, workshop 8:30pm, music 9pm–1am. $5 donation. BYOB.

The queens in question at the Dojo next month will be Jovan Landry, Tee Spirit, Freddie Old Soul, DJ Gr-illa, and host for the night Fury Hip Hop. In perhaps less queenly but reliable fashion, F12 Network will be hosting a workshop again at 8:30pm, and nonprofit organization Activist In You will be vending throughout the night. (Julia Aizuss)


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)

The Belle of Amherst

Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Thursday, November 2–Sunday, December 3. $35–$68, discounts available for seniors, students, faculty, and groups. (773) 753-4472.

Emily Dickinson could not stop for death, but you should stop by the UofC’s Court Theatre to see William Luce’s play about the revered poet’s reclusive life in Massachusetts. Kate Fry stars as the prolific Dickinson who “dwells in possibility” and famously characterized hope as a “feathered thing that perches in the soul.” (Joseph S. Pete)

Spotlight Reading Series: “Trouble in Mind”

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Shore Drive. Saturday, November 11, 3pm. 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Free, but reservation required. (773) 753-4472.

Alice Childress’s Trouble in Mind offers a satirical take on racism in American commercial theater, spoofing a “progressive” Broadway play about race that’s anything but. The staged reading will revive a play as part of Court’s Spotlight Reading Series, which aims to bring the works of people of color to the fore. (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)

Filmversation and Forum about Gentrification

South Side Community Arts Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. Friday, November 3, 7pm. Free, registration required. (773) 373-1026.

Tom Freeman of the North is a film by Mo Rabbani showing a young Black man’s struggles with the changes impacting his neighborhood from gentrification. A panel discussion moderated by Pemon Rami, featuring representatives from multiple community organizations, will follow the screening.  (Nicole Bond)

The Lips, The Teeth, The Tip of the Tongue: Trauma and Memory in the Context of Horror

Filmfront, 1740 W. 18th St. Sunday, October 29, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm. Free.

This is the closing day for the movie marathon series curated by Jory Drew, which questions the connection between the tangible mouth and the intangible mind. The final theme will be SWALLOW, and consists of four films to be announced the Friday prior. Come for one or all four. Bringing snacks and beverages is encouraged. (Nicole Bond)


Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. Friday, October 27, 7pm–10pm. (312) 857-5561.

Halloween horror with Black Cinema House means taking a critical look at whiteness and the white gaze with the help of the Black protagonists of Lewis Vaughn’s Silverhead and Monika Estrella Negra’s first film, FLESH. For this night, mature audiences only are recommended. (Julia Aizuss)

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