Notes & Calendar 11/22/17

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


DNAinfo and Chicagoist: Where Are They Now

After the abrupt shutdown of DNAinfo and Chicagoist on November 2, we’ve been keeping an eye on how their former reporters are faring. Here are a few of the places they went (hint: all of them are online blogs). Chicago Cityscape, a database provider of construction and development in Chicago neighborhoods, is paying former DNAinfo reporters for its Medium website. Here you can find the work of Alex Nitkin for the Far Northwest Side, Alisa Hauser for the Wicker Park and Bucktown beats, and Sam Cholke, the omnipresent reporter for the South Lakefront. Hauser is now back to editing the Medium website Chicago Pipeline, her old neighborhood blog that she wrote until 2012 and revived this month to cover Wicker Park, Bucktown, and West Town; some former DNAinfo and Chicagoist writers are on board now as well. Former Englewood and Chatham reporter Andrea Watson, on the other hand, has struck out on her own and keeps reporting for the communities who know and trust her work—find her at

Whitewashed Opioid Epidemic

It is well known that the opioid epidemic started with the abuse of painkillers as palliative care swept over white people in rural and suburban areas. What is missing from the narrative is opiates’ impact on African Americans; as a result, the Chicago Urban League stepped in to fill in the gap and published a brief, the first in a series, claiming that the current narrative on the opioid epidemic is whitewashed and trivializes the severe struggle of black addicts—who, according to the brief, “account for nearly one quarter of opioid overdose deaths despite making up fifteen percent of Illinois’s population.” Chicago is an extreme case study since the city’s death rate of African Americans from opioids is quadruple the national average while also having the “lowest treatment capacity for medication-assisted treatment in the Midwest.” One wonders, of course, whether these meager resources are evenly distributed among different racial groups. As the brief points out, any existing resources certainly aren’t geographically, economically, or culturally tailored.

At Last

The Chicago Police Department’s shuffling slow-walk down the path toward becoming, if not wholly reformed, even marginally less corrupt, finally got a kick in the pants from State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office last week. Foxx vacated the convictions of fifteen men who were prosecuted in cases involving officers associated with disgraced former South Side public housing sergeant Ronald Watts. This happened after officers notified prosecutors they would plead the Fifth Amendment and not testify against the men during upcoming hearings. Joining the fifteen was Jose Maysonet, who was released after four former officers who worked with former Northwest Side detective Reynaldo Guevara refused to testify. It is the first mass exoneration in Cook County’s history according to Foxx’s office, and it is essentially exactly what Foxx was elected to do. “I think it’s moving from kind of the myopic vision of ‘can we win on this issue?’” she told the Tribune. “Having a broader view of ‘did the right outcome happen in this case?’ versus ‘can we defend the conviction?’” The exonerations came after months of criticism from the left against Foxx for not vacating cases associated with known corrupt police supervisors. Foxx’s office at least has a reason for the slow pace of its work; according to the Tribune, it has just four attorneys in its post-conviction review unit. Eddie Johnson, who put seven Watts-linked officers on desk duty after the exonerations, has no such excuse—he and other top CPD brass have known of the officers’ misdeeds for years according to whistleblowing former cop Shannon Spalding, who was one of the sources for Jamie Kalven’s “Code of Silence” series on Watts and crew’s criminal habits. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle showed Johnson how to do it back in November when she fired her head of Homeland Security, who was Watts’s supervisor, almost immediately after Kalven’s exposé was published. But of course, she isn’t a CPD lifer who has never seen police misconduct on the job.

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The Pre-Thanksgiving Skate Jam

The Rink, 1122 E. 87th St. Wednesday, November 22, 9pm–midnight. $10. Skate rental included. Tickets at

The night before Thanksgiving, the Iota Delta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., is hosting its annual skate jam and fundraiser. The brothers ask that you also bring non-perishable food items to be donated to a local food pantry. (Rachel Kim)

Little Village Holiday Shopping!

La Villita, 3700 W. 26th St. Saturday, November 25, 10am–9pm. Food provided from 9am–11am. (773) 521-5387.

On #SmallBizSat, the Little Village Chamber of Commerce wants you to do your holiday shopping in the neighborhood by providing offers and discounts for fifteen affiliated local businesses. Come early for free appetizers and small gifts. (Rachel Kim)

Giving Tuesday: Rewrite the Narrative with Donda’s House

Virgin Hotels Chicago, 203 N. Wabash Ave. Tuesday, November 28, 6pm–8pm. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door. (773) 305-4064.

The local arts-focused nonprofit Donda’s House is hosting a fundraising social to discuss reclaiming narratives of low-income communities and youth of color on the South Side. The event promises food, drinks, and exclusive announcements regarding its new home, partner, and upcoming event with a Chicago hip-hop legend. We can only hope it’s Kanye. (Rachel Kim)

Luvvie Ajayi

Seminary Co-op, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave. Wednesday, November 29, 6pm–7:30pm. Free. (773) 752-4381.

Join blogging sensation Luvvie Ajayi, who will be discussing her new book I’m Judging You. Written for those of us living in a thoroughly digital world, the so-called “good manners handbook” promises to give us the hard truths about our lives with Luvvie’s characteristic wit and humor. (Rachel Kim)

Protest! Libraries, Archives, and Black Resistance in Chicago

Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Dr. Library, Ste. 300. Wednesday, November 29, 6pm–8:30pm. Free. Parking is $5. Must register online at

Infollectuals and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium will host a panel of archivists, a public librarian, and a historian at Chicago State University to discuss the history of protest by Black Chicagoans and the engagement between Black communities and the archives that collect this history. (Samantha Smylie)

Hyde Park Holly-Day

Harper Court, 5235 S. Harper Ct. Saturday, December 2, 8am–7pm. Free. (773) 702-0936.

Hyde Park will be hosting a street holiday festival that promises food, ice sculpture carving, cookie decorating, caroling with a local alderman, Santa, costumed characters, and real—or, as the organizers put it, “live”—reindeer. (Rachel Kim)

Englewood Quality of Life Quarterly Meeting

Volunteers of America Illinois, 6002 S. Halsted St. Saturday, December 2, 11am–12:30pm. Free.

Teamwork Englewood will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Englewood Quality of Life Plan II, which set goals and created community-based task forces to strengthen and improve Englewood’s standard of living. The meeting will discuss progress made and plans for the upcoming year. (Rachel Kim)


YCA On The Block: Pilsen

La Catrina Café, 1011 W. 18th St. Through December 1. Fridays, 6pm–8pm. Free.

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

Cultura in Pilsen Holiday Tianguis

La Catrina Café, 1011 W. 18th St. Saturday, November 25, 11am–6pm.

Of your many Small Business Saturday options, Cultura’s should be pretty tempting: aside from the variety of local and Oaxacan vendors, which range from botanical bath products to handcrafted art and clothing to posters and postcards based on Akito Tsuda’s Pilsen Days, all proceeds from the holiday raffle earthquake relief in Oaxaca. (Julia Aizuss)

BYOB Oaxacan Alebrije Painting Class

La Catrina Café, 1011 W. 18th St. Friday, November 24, 7pm–9:30pm. $25–$45.

If you missed Alebrije artist Carlos Orozco’s previous visits to Chicago, this last class of the year is not one to miss—he’ll be teaching the history and technique of the alebrije, small, carved wooden animals that are a Oaxacan folk art tradition. Choose your beverage and a pre-carved alebrije to paint; all proceeds will go toward Orozco’s Oaxacan art collective Puech Ikots. (Julia Aizuss)

My South Side: Putting the Neighbor in the Hood Art Exhibit

Art on 51st, 1238 W. 51st St. Tuesday, November 21, 3pm–6pm. Free.

Richard’s Career Academy CASA after-school art students will showcase their artwork with the community. The academy offers a variety of classes such as graffiti, photography, radio, and Mexican folkloric dance; some of which will also be displayed at the opening reception. (Maple Joy)


Chosen Few DJs present: The Giving

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Thursday, November 23, 9pm–2am. 9pm doors. $10 in advance, mandatory coat check for $3. 21+. (312) 801-2100.

House music pioneers the Chosen Few DJs will be hosting their annual Thanksgiving Night party. In addition to the Chosen Few’s line-up, this event will also feature The Young Guns, DJ Ameer, and DJ Marcellus. (Adia Robinson)

The Jeff Gibbs Quartet

Reggies, 2015 S. State St. Friday, November 24, 8pm doors. 17+. $10–$25. (312) 949-0120.

The Jeff Gibbs Quartet thinks that without music we would be “emotionless,” which is probably why they are also, apparently, “a chameleon to all types of music.” If you come to Reggies in a couple weeks, you’ll find out what music that means for saxophonist Jeff Gibbs, bassist James Carter, keyboard player Cleo Bryrd, and drummer DJ Abernathy—and what emotions you’ll feel. (Julia Aizuss)

Marquis Hill

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West. Friday, November 24, 7pm doors, 8pm show. $15–$40. 21+. (312) 801-2100.

Chatham native Marquis Hill has been described by the New York Times as a “dauntingly skilled trumpeter” and the Tribune has said that “his music crystallizes the hard-hitting, hard-swinging spirit of Chicago jazz.” But even beyond Chicago jazz, his music incorporates elements of hip-hop, jazz, R&B, soul, blues, and even spoken word. For this tape release party for his new release Meditation, Hill will be joined onstage by Mike King on keyboard, Junius Paul on bass, and Makaya McCraven on drums, with guest DJ Jamal Science on MPC and J.P. Floyd as an opener. (Andrew Koski)

Makaya McCraven with Irreversible Entanglements and Dos Santos

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Saturday, December 2, 8:30pm. 17+. $15 (early bird), $20. (312) 536-3851.

At this show, Thalia Hall will be celebrating the album releases of two local artists (jazz musician Makaya McCraven and “liberation-oriented free jazz collective” Irreversible Entanglements) on Bridgeport-based recording company International Anthem. Dos Santos’s closing performance, meanwhile, is an album teaser—they’ll have their first full-length album out with International Anthem this summer. (Julia Aizuss)

Rai Presents: Luz y Sombra EP Release

The Dojo, message on Facebook for address. Saturday, December 9, 8:30pm. $5 donation.

Contrasting the “stellar melodies of hope” with the “dark sounds of reality,” Luz y Sombra is a dynamic and long awaited EP by Rai, Décima, Lester Rey, and Swooning. Come to the Dojo to be the first to hear it and also enjoy live art by Meli Alvarez Juarez and Ariana Romero. (Maddie Anderson)

Twin Peaks, Knox Fortune, and Sun Cop

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Friday, December 29, doors 7pm, show 8pm. $25–$35. All ages. (312) 526-3851.

It’s a locals’ night at Thalia Hall, with three Chicago bands on display. Come to watch Sun Cop rise. Stay all night with Knox Fortune, of Chance the Rapper’s “All Night” fame. And in the end, come home with Twin Peaks of indie rock acclaim. (Lewis Page)


Connect South Shore Arts Festival

Connect Gallery, 2226 E. 71st St. Friday, November 24, 6pm–9pm; Saturday, November 25, noon–8pm; Sunday, November 26, noon–5pm. Free.

Last month, the remarkable unveiling of the Renew ’71 project marked another step in the South Shore community’s journey to redevelopment rather than disinvestment. Bringing local residents together again, stop by the Connect South Shore Arts Festival, where you can engage and celebrate local artists, musicians, retailers, and filmmakers. (Maple Joy)

Queer Lines: A Queer Thanksgiving

Chicago Art Department, 1932 S. Halsted Ave. Friday, November 24, Doors 6:30pm, show 7:30pm-10pm. Suggested donation $15. 21+. (312) 725-4223.

Drag king performances, spoken word, live music, DJing—these promise to turn Black Friday into “an honest and celebratory evening” for queer families. Attendees are also invited to bring “a photo to share”—you’ll have to go to Queer Lines to find out how you and your family will add to the celebration. (Julia Aizuss)

Sydney R. Daniels Oratorical Festival GoFundMe

Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake St. (Room 115). Festival Tuesday, February 27. Email for more info.

Harold Washington’s long-running Black History Month Oratorical Festival—named after the late beloved professor Sydney R. Daniels—was suspended last year when funding distribution for scholarships changed. With the festival’s thirtieth anniversary approaching, speech professor Sunny Serres is heading a GoFundMe effort to bring back the festival and the scholarships; it’s already nearly halfway there. (Julia Aizuss)

Nguzo Saba films with Carol Lawrence

Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Saturday, December 2, 3pm. Free.

For the last two years, South Side Projections has screened Carol Munday Lawrence’s Nguzo Saba films. This December, Lawrence herself will present the animated short films on the seven principles of unity, most commonly associated with Kwanzaa, and discuss them after the screening. (Adia Robinson)

Were You There

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Saturday, December 2, 7pm. Free.

South Side Projections; the Logan Center; the UofC Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture; the DuSable Museum; and Black World Cinema will all present two episodes of Carol Munday Lawrence’s 1981 TV series Were You There on film pioneer Oscar Micheaux and bluesman Willie Dixon. The screening will be followed by a discussion on Black women in film between Lawrence and Afrofuturist writer and filmmaker Ytasha L. Womack. (Adia Robinson)

The Belle of Amherst

Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Through Sunday, December 3. $25–$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)

Meet Juan(ito) Doe

Free Street Storyfront, 4346 S. Ashland Ave. Through Friday, December 15. Mondays and Fridays, 7:30pm. Free or pay-what-you-can; advance tickets starting at $5. (773) 772-7248.

Free Street Theater’s latest play, created by multidisciplinary artist Ricardo Gamboa in collaboration with Ana Velasquez and “an ensemble of brown and down Chi-towners,” was supposed to close last week, but now that its run has been extended for a month. You have no excuse for missing out on this play based on the true stories and input of Back of the Yards residents—you won’t find anything like it anywhere else in the city. (Julia Aizuss)


Teen Gaming: Never Alone (PS4)

CPL, Back of the Yards Branch, 2111 W. 47th St. Saturday, November 25, 9am–5pm. Free. (312) 747-9595.

Play through this “arctic adventure” as you navigate Inupiat (Alaskan Native) culture and Alaskan landscapes in the PS4 platform game Never Alone. The game, which was created through the input of around forty Inupiat community members, will be available for play by request even after Native American Heritage Month is over, but be sure to come for this final group event—the game can be played collaboratively by two players. (Emeline Posner)

The Increasing Presence of Upscale Restaurants in Pilsen

La Catrina Cafe, 1011 W. 18th St. Thursday, November 30, 6pm–8pm. Free. (312) 422-5580.

Illinois Humanities and the Pilsen Alliance host an Illinois Speaks discussion on how new upscale restaurants have been working with the community of Pilsen—and how they should be. Amid tensions after two higher-end eateries were tagged with “GET OUT,” a small group will talk about the prospect of community benefits agreements and special deals for residents. (Joseph S. Pete)

Take Root Program for Vets

Applications through December 1. Free to apply. Military veterans only. (815) 389-8455.

Military veterans who want to trade their swords for plowshares can learn the trade of sustainable farming at established farms across Chicagoland, including in Southeast Wisconsin. Those selected will receive training in organic production while working for an hourly wage, a yearlong membership to Upper Midwest CRAFT, and admission to the MOSES Organic Farming Conference in February. (Joseph S. Pete)

Get Sliced!

Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St. Friday, December 1, 7pm–11pm. $30 in advance, $40 at door. Buy tickets online at (773) 837-0145.

It’s “frickin horribly hard” to make Lumpen Radio, Bridgeport’s beloved low-fi radio station. Fortunately, the folks at Lumpen have made it easier than ever to help you help them keep their “psychomagical” programs on the airwaves with a local pizza–local media fundraiser. At the Get Sliced! benefit, a $30 ticket will get you a slice from every Bridgeport pizza joint and land you a spot on the pizza jury. (Emeline Posner)

Beginning Farmer of the Year Nomination

Submission due by January 12 to Advocates for Urban Agriculture, (773) 850-0428. Details:

New to sustainable farming and want to share your accomplishments to date? The Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA) wants to hear from you in the form of three-minute video submissions. All videos received will be posted on the AUA website andvoted on by viewers. The winning submission will be nominated by AUA for a $1,000 prize. (Emeline Posner)

The Chicago Community Climate Forum

The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. Enter through East Entrance. Sunday, December 3. 6pm–9pm. Free. RSVP at (312) 922-9410.

Civic leaders and engaged residents will talk about ways to fight climate change in the Chicago area. Twenty-five different organizations from across Chicagoland are staging a public forum that will address the North American Climate Summit’s global goals, local solutions, shared commitment to action and related issues, like clean air and water. (Joseph S. Pete)

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