Notes & Calendar 11/8/17

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


A Farewell to DNAinfo

At local civic journalism lab City Bureau’s fundraiser last Thursday, one former Weekly editor remarked, “This is kind of like an apocalypse party”—and indeed, the news of the shuttering of DNAinfo and Chicagoist hung like a heavy cloud over the gathering.

All of Chicago owes a tremendous debt to DNAinfo, and its dedication to covering the goings-on in every corner of the city. We at the Weekly would be remiss if we did not note that this notes section in particular owes a heavy debt to DNAinfo, with its steady stream of reliable reporting we could wryly riff on.

In recent days, many have been looking toward solutions and replacements, calling for more donations to organizations like ProPublica and City Bureau and, well, us—but the fact is, no one in Chicago is doing anything close to what DNAinfo provided. With a full-time staff of nineteen reporters, each dedicated to a few neighborhoods in the city, DNAinfo did on-the-ground daily reporting that we do not have the capacity and infrastructure to do—the kind of reporting that is simply not in our mission.

In a way, these differences were at the root of some of our criticisms of DNAinfo. With the rapid pace of its reporting came the uncontextualized cataloguing of violent crime and the occasional article that didn’t go beyond the press release.

But we like to think of ourselves as two sides of the same coin—their foundational reporting sparking our imagination, our long-form stories building on their work with history and context.

The South Side deserves both kinds of reporting. It deserves someone to keep a constant eye on the alderman and the developers, someone to cover the community protest, the business opening, the retirement of a veteran coach. It deserves—it needs—reporting like DNAinfo’s.

From Protests to Public Office   

“A People, United, Will Never Be Defeated,” thundered the spacious hall at the IUOE Local 399 on Sunday afternoon as a thousand people from across the city and suburbs gathered to hold several elected officials accountable. The public meeting was organized by The People’s Lobby, a grassroots progressive movement in Illinois that focuses on community organizing and supports causes like a global minimum wage and an end to corporate tax loopholes. The event featured speakers sharing their stories of struggle with inaccessible healthcare or racist “tough-on-crime” policies, connecting them to a broader fight against “racial capitalism.” In addition to having several elected officials make public commitments, including Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx pledging to fight mass incarceration, the meeting ended with more than thirty people from the audience declaring their commitment to run for office in the coming years. The message was clear: establishment candidates beware—and listen to the people!



Michelle Commander – “Afro-Atlantic Flight”

Seminary Co-op, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave. Wednesday, November 8, 6pm–7:30pm. Free. (773) 752-4381.

During this talk, Michelle D. Commander, an associate professor of English and Africana Studies at the University of Tennessee, will discuss her new book Afro-Atlantic Flight, which analyzes the relationship Black Americans have with “imagined Africas” and the importance of refiguring widespread U.S. narratives about slavery. (Bridget Newsham)

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)

Beyond One Chicago: Resisting Divisions of the Prison Industrial Complex

UIC Student Services Building, 1200 W. Harrison St, conference rooms B and C. Friday, November 10, 6:30pm, doors 6pm.

Hear from community organizers as they discuss ways to resist criminalization, policing, and the problematic database behind CPD’s Strategic Subject List. BYP100, Organizing Communities Against Deportation, and Mijente will all be featured at this event hosted by Critical Resistance. (Adia Robinson)

Learn to be an African Heritage Cooking Superstar!

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

Loved last May’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)

November Story Time: The Joys of Being a Little Black Boy

Build Coffee, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. Saturday, November 11, 11:30am–12:30pm. Free. (773) 627-5058.

Join former Weekly executive editor Bess Cohen and 57th Street Books children’s manager Franny Billingsly, as well as special guest author Valerie Reynolds, for a November story time for all ages, but especially those between zero and six. They’ll be reading from Reynolds’s picture book The Joys of Being a Little Black Boy, which was featured in the Weekly’s 2017 Lit Issue. (Sam Stecklow)


CHILL SET 2017 – Teen Night at the NMMA

The National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Friday, November 10, 6pm–10pm. (312) 738-1503.

The National Museum of Mexican Art will be hosting Teen Art night in honor of Dia de Los Muertos. There will be a live art battle, button-making, live music, dancing, and more! If you’re a teen and you’re into art (or even if you’re not), come on over to this Pilsen museum to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos the right way! (Michael Wasney)

YCA On The Block: Pilsen

La Catrina Café, 1011 W. 18th St. Through Dec. 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)

Folk Art of Mexico: Alebrijes of Oaxaca Workshop

Blackstone Library, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave. Saturday, November 11, 2pm–4pm. Free. Children ten and up. Registration required. (312) 747-0511.

Join the Blackstone Library as they welcome Oaxacan artist Carlos Orozco for a workshop on the traditional Oaxacan art form of alebrijes. Also known as Mexican folk art, alebrijes are colorful carved wooden animals. Orozco will present the history of alebrijes, and participants will be able to paint their own wooden animals. (Roderick Sawyer)

7th Annual Beautiful Coffins Show

The Surreal Rabbit, 2059 W. 18th Street. Friday, November 17, 6pm–10pm. Free. (312) 285-2795.

Every year, at the behest of the all-woman art collective Mujeres Mutantes, painters, poets, artists and other community members can decorate fifty handcrafted mini coffins to honor loved ones in a celebration of both Dia de Los Muertos and Halloween. This year’s theme is the number seven and the search for truth. (Joseph S. Pete)

Alejandro Cesarco at the Renaissance Society

The Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis Avenue (Cobb Hall, 4th floor). Saturday, November 18, 5pm–8pm with artist talk at 6pm. Free. Exhibit through January 28, 2018. (773) 834-8049.

The Renaissance Society presents a conversation and an exhibition with artist Alejandro Cesarco. Cesarco’s newly commissioned work combines video, sound, and photography as an exploration of elements such as time, memory, and meaning. Cesarco will lead a conversation on his work starting at 6pm. (Roderick Sawyer)


Party Noire After Dark: Dance Hall & Juke Joint

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West. Thursday, November 9, 9pm. $5 presale, $7 day of. 21+. (312) 801-2100.

Party Noire at the Promontory is back—this time, after dark—as they present “Dance Hall & Juke Joint.” The night will kick off with screenings of some of the best current Black indie films. Afterwards, expect some jams brought to you by DJ Rae Chardonnay and Lisa Decibel. It’s not a night to be missed! (Michael Wasney)

Nuestra Gente: Mexico & Puerto Rico Fundraiser

The Dojo (message on Facebook for address). Saturday, November 11, 7:30pm. $5-$10 donation.

Worried that your Saturday nights out on the town aren’t doing enough to save the world? Then come to the Dojo’s Nuestra Gente for a night of art, music, and social justice. Proceeds will go to the areas of Mexico and Puerto Rico impacted by recent natural disasters that still lack adequate emergency funds. So think of it as a two-fold moral obligation: to save lives on the one hand, and to enjoy an art- and music-filled night on the other! (Michael Wasney)


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)

Brian Fresco

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Sunday, November 12, 6pm. $10–$12. All ages. (312) 949-0120.

The “street ambassador” for the Save Money collective, Brian Fresco has been making a name of his own over the past couple years, being named in RedEye’s “Top 15 Acts to Watch in 2015,” releasing his second mixtape Casanova in 2016, performing with MC Tree and Juicy J in Los Angeles as part of Red Bull’s “30 Days in LA” concert series, and headlining his own shows everywhere in between. Catch him at Reggies for what is sure to be a fire set in front of a hometown crowd. (Andrew Koski)

Isaiah Sharkey

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West. Thursday, November 17, 8pm. $15 and up. 21+. (312) 801-2100.

Grammy award-winning songwriter, South Side legend, and guitarist extraordinaire Isaiah Sharkey is coming to The Promontory to celebrate the release of his debut album, Love.Life.Live. Come through to enjoy his idiosyncratic, finger-snapping style that mixes soul, R&B, rock, gospel, and jazz. (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)


Made in L.A. (Hecho en LA)

Casa Michoacán, 1638 S. Blue Island Ave. Wednesday, November 8, 7pm. Free.

Immigrant organization network Alianza Americas, the Smart Museum of Art, art gallery and music venue Casa Michoacán, and South Side Projections have teamed up to screen the 2007 documentary Made in L.A. The film, which follows three undocumented Latina immigrants in a quest to win labor protections from Forever 21, will be followed by a discussion—come by Wednesday to find out with whom. (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)

Re:sound Live!

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Wednesday, November 8, 7:30pm. $25. (312) 526-3851.

Part of the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s two-week curated live podcast festival, Re:sound Live!—described as a “narrative mixtape”—brings together disparate storytellers and podcast hosts for an evening of live original stories and audio experiments. (Sam Stecklow)

BCH Mixtape: Vol. 1

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

Seven short films will mark the debut of a new Black Cinema House series showcasing the independent short film of Black filmmakers. A discussion afterward will hone in on the artists and the “breadth of Black perspective and imagination” demonstrated in their works, from intergenerational violence to sexual and cultural identity. (Julia Aizuss)

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)

Spotlight Reading Series: “Trouble in Mind”

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Shore Dr. Saturday, November 11, 3pm. Free, 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)



Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. Friday, November 10 through Wednesday, November 15. See website for showtimes. $11, $6 for members. (312) 846-2800.

California grape boycott organizer Dolores Huerta, who teamed up with Cesar Chavez to found the nation’s first farmworker’s union, has been hailed as a real-life superhero. She’s the subject of Peter Bratt’s documentary, recently brought back to the Siskel due to popular demand. It features on-screen interviews with Huerta herself, as well as with significant historical figures like Gloria Steinem and Hillary Clinton. (Joseph S. Pete)

Creative Kimchi Playshop

Eco Collective, 2042 W. 21st St. Saturday, November 11, 1pm–3pm. $35, scholarships available. (773) 467-7891.

Whether you wish to ferment for “health,” “taste,” or “radical self-sustainability” (or all three), fermenter extraordinaire Andrea Mattson-McGaffey—manager of the Edible Alchemy Foods Co-op and the Eco Collective’s rooftop garden—will be willing and able to help you experiment with making kimchi out of a range of vegetables at this workshop. (Julia Aizuss)

Composting in Public Spaces Workshop

Montessori School of Englewood, 6936 S. Hermitage Ave. Saturday, November 11, 9:30am–3pm. Free. Register at

All the questions you’ve ever had about composting in public spaces will find answers at this all-intensive community workshop led by NeighborSpace. Hear from the experts on best practices, learn how to build your own bin, and talk through the new requirements of the Chicago Composting Ordinance. Breakfast, snacks, and lunch provided for free. (Emeline Posner)

Bike trip: Pullman Porter Museum, The Big Marsh, and ACME

The Spoke & Bird, 205 E. 18th St. Sunday, November 12, 8am–5pm. $20 (includes museum admission).

A forty-mile, daylong bike tour will take cyclists to the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, through the historic factory town of Pullman, to the 278-acre Big Marsh, and onto the abandoned ACME Coke Plant that once baked coal into steelmaking-grade coke in more than fifty ovens. Cyclists will be able to take in the area’s wealth of industrial history, architecture, and nature. (Joseph S. Pete)

Chicago Food Justice Coalition Inaugural Meeting

Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, 120 S. LaSalle St. Monday, November 13, 10am–noon. RSVP requested by Wednesday, November 8; fill out survey at (312) 347-8350. Email if interested but can’t attend.

Anyone interested in using legal and political advocacy to work on food justice and equity—whether in Chicago, Illinois, or all the Midwest—is welcome to this meeting and workshop. Come to help LAF get community input on this new project, as well as to start discussing and collaborating on issues surrounding food and agriculture. (Julia Aizuss)

Olmsted and Beyond: Parks & Open Spaces on the South Side

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Tuesday, November 14, noon–1pm. (773) 947-0600.

At this short, lunch-hour lecture, photographer/architecture critic/new DuSable Vice President/possible Renaissance man Lee Bey will walk attendees through the South Side’s green and open spaces, and the history of their development. No need to pack walking shoes, though—Bey will use slides and, presumably, his own photographs, to cover all that ground. (Emeline Posner)

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