Notes & Calendar 2/15/17


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

R.I.P., Pivot Gang’s John Walt

In our Music Issue we wrote, “This is an issue about the music of the South Side, but more than that, it’s about the people who made that music possible. To those people, we say thank you—for offering us answers, and for everything else too.” Last week, we saw the devastating flip side of that personal sentiment. Walter Long, Jr., better known as John Walt and dinnerwithjohn, one of the original members of Pivot Gang and a cornerstone of the West Side’s hip-hop scene, was killed near the Metra tracks at Union Station on Wednesday, February 8. He was stabbed after an altercation on the CTA. The Weekly never covered John, but the impact of his music, voice, personality, and more on the best and brightest creative minds of the city was undeniable, rippling through every inch of Chicago’s music scenes, and the loss will be just as potent.

Chance the Rapper, Meet Bruce the Governor

In what can only be described as a hometown victory, Chance the Rapper won three awards at the Grammys on Sunday, including awards for Best New Artist (his first mixtape came out in 2012) and Best Rap Album; he is the first unsigned artist to win a Grammy in the history of the awards. The next day, Governor Bruce Rauner, whose austerity policies and mismanagement of the state budget have wreaked havoc on social services throughout Chicago, including in neighborhoods like Chatham, where Chance the Rapper is from, offered his congratulations to Chance via Twitter. Chance tweeted back requesting a meeting with (joke credit to the Sun-Times) Bruce the Governor, and the governor quickly agreed. There’s no word yet on whether this meeting will result in a kind of come-to-Jesus moment for Rauner or whether the two will collaborate on a diss track targeting Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Can’t Judge a TV Segment by Its Title

Chris Hayes couldn’t have picked a worse title than “Chicago in the Crosshairs,” which brings to mind the never-ending litany of media that luridly describes Chicago’s violence without analyzing its cause and dehumanizes the city’s South and West Side residents. And when the host of MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” announced that he would be taping a town hall at the South Shore Cultural Center with that aforementioned name, he received well-deserved flak from Chicago residents on Twitter. But in the segment itself, which aired last Friday, Hayes made it clear that he was determined to avoid the pitfalls of “parachute journalism” and to discuss the nuances of Chicago’s gun violence in response to President Trump’s recent threats to “send the feds” to Chicago. Hayes proceeded to speak with a variety of Chicago activists and officials not just about gun violence but also about police brutality, school closures, and the lack of available jobs and mental health services. Among other segments, the forum highlighted the ways in which Chicagoans are already organizing against violence, and, in a filmed interlude, Hayes’s colleague Trymaine Lee walked the streets of Chatham with WBEZ’s Natalie Moore as she discussed the history of black Chicago and the impact of segregation. But while city officials like Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp and Chicago Police Commissioner Eddie Johnson argued that the city was already taking steps to reduce violence, activists took the opportunity to condemn not just Trump but state and local politicians. A clip of activist Ja’Mal Green telling Hayes that “this mayor that we have in the city of Chicago does not care about black people” received traction on social media. Green pointed out the mayor’s history of investing money in projects like the DePaul basketball stadium and downtown bus stops while neglecting the needs of predominantly black communities. It’s a particularly potent critique given that Emanuel is currently enthusiastic about yet another pricey project that no one seems to need: an express train from downtown to O’Hare.

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Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin

Day 1: First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St.; Day 2: DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. February 16–17, 6pm–7:15pm both days. $15 for CHE members, $20 general admission, $10 students and teachers. Online RSVP required.

For a two-night event co-presented by the Chicago Humanities Festival, DuSable Museum of African American History, and Chicago Urban League, Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, will discuss their journey of grief and seeking justice for their son’s life. There will be a book signing of their newly released book Rest in Power following the program (Njeri Parker)

From Civil Rights to Black Power: Tracing the African American Freedom Struggle

Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave.  Friday, February 17–Saturday, February 18, 8:30am–5pm. $50 general admission, $20 students and seniors. Advance tickets required; $5 fee for walk-ins. Buy online.

Join the Chicago Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to learn about the Black Power movement as an essential era in the fight for racial equality. The two-day conference includes three film screenings, musical performances, and discussions with black activists young and old. (Hafsa Razi)

Urban Livestock Expo

Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St. Saturday, February 18, 10am–1pm. Free.

For those interested in raising livestock, the city can be a difficult place to get started. But it’s time to put aside those worries. Attend Advocates for Urban Agriculture’s Urban Livestock Expo, and learn everything you need to know to become the urban farmer you’ve always aspired to be. People of all expertise and interest levels welcome. (Michael Wasney)

Bronzeville’s 4th Ward Aldermanic Candidate Forum

Kennicott Park Gymnasium, 4434 S. Lake Park Ave. Tuesday, February 21, 6pm–8pm. Free.

Candidates for 4th Ward alderman will square off to debate approaches to economic development, public safety, and affordable housing in advance of the February 28 special election. The forum is sponsored by the Bronzeville Neighborhood Collaborative. (Sam Clapp)

Turning Your Stretch of the River into A Neighborhood Destination

Chicago Maritime Museum, 1200 W. 35th St. Wednesday February 22, 9:30am–noon. Free. Online RSVP required. (773) 376-1982.

A workshop will help anyone who has ideas on how to enliven stretches of the Chicago, Calumet, and Des Plaines Rivers. Attendees can get feedback from professionals and learn about grant opportunities for neighborhood projects along the river banks. (Joseph S. Pete)

Community Members Standing Together Against Violence

AKArama Foundation Community Center, 6220 S. Ingleside Ave. Thursday, February 23, 6pm–8pm. RSVP online. Free. Dinner served. (773) 834-4244.

The University of Chicago’s Center for Community Health and Vitality’s latest installment of Community Grand Rounds will be a discussion on efforts to lessen community violence. Community members are invited to engage on the issue with researchers and other attendees over a complimentary dinner. (Sara Cohen)


Space by Proxy

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Opening Saturday, February 18, 3pm-4:30pm. Through Sunday, March 12. Monday-Thursday, 9am–8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am–5pm; Sunday, 12pm-5pm. Free. (773) 324-5520.

In conjunction with the ongoing exhibition “Precariat,” Matthew Sage of the record press Patient Sounds will be leading a discussion around questions of safe DIY spaces and those spaces’ relationship to political action. Sit patiently, and you just might get a chapbook, as part of a limited run. (Corinne Butta)

Black Clay: A Survey of Contemporary African-American Ceramics

Chicago State University President’s Gallery, 9501 S. King Dr., 3rd floor. Reception Tuesday, February 21, 1pm–3pm. Through February 3–April 21. Monday–Friday, 8:30am–5:30pm. Free. (773) 995-3984.

Chicago State University’s Art and Design program will present a group exhibition of work by seven contemporary African-American ceramicists. A special exhibition will honor Marva Jolly, pioneering black sculptor and matriarch of the CSU ceramics program. (Sam Clapp)

Chicago on My Mind

Garfield Park Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. Opening reception Friday February 24, 6pm-8pm. Through Sunday, February 26. Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm. Free. (773) 702-9724.

Based off of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1969 exhibition “Harlem on My Mind,” curatorial residents Sadie Woods and La Keisha Leek revise the concept to apply to Chicago. They bring together works that unite a vision of Chicago cultural and social practice. (Corinne Butta)


Valentine’s Day Love and Laughter with Michel’le

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Tuesday, February 14. Doors 6pm, show 7pm. Tickets $35–$85, $50 for meet-and-greet. 21+. (312) 801-2100.

80’s Soul Survior R&B artist Michel’le headlines an intimate Valentine’s Day dinner concert for fans old and new. Share a boneless lamb loin main course for two, with an optional wine pairing for an additional $15. The opening acts for the evening are Just Nesh, Da Wild Cat, BLT, and Gemini Porter. (Nicole Bond)

DJ Rude One

606 Records, 1808 S. Allport St. Friday, February 17. 6pm–8pm. Free. All ages. (312) 585-6106.

Recent Closed Sessions signee DJ Rude One debuts tracks from his new project, ONEderful, at 606 Records next Friday. Check it out for a set of instrumental, downcast hip-hop that could only have come from producers in the Windy City. (Austin Brown)

Civic Chamber Music Series #1

Dorchester Art and Housing Collaborative, 1456 E. 70th St. Saturday, February 18. 4:30pm–6:30pm. Free. (312) 857-5561.

Want your classical music fix but don’t want to make the trek to the CSO? Listen to the genre’s rising stars—a woodwind quintet from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago—perform this Saturday evening as part of their 2017 civic engagement series, where ensembles perform for free at three South and West Side locations. (Emily Lipstein)

The Range (with Austra & My Gold Mask)

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Saturday, February 18. Doors 8pm, show 9pm. $20. 17+. (312) 526-3851.

Since releasing his sophomore album Potential in 2016, The Range (aka James Hinton) has been touring the US with his brand of electronic music. His latest offering comes after scouring and sampling hours of Youtube videos, utilizing clips from little- and unknown vocalists for a tech-chorus that packs an aspirational punch. (Isabelle Lim)


Blues for an Alabama Sky

Court Theater, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Through February 19. Ticket prices $38-$68. (773)753-4472.

Pearl Cleage’s 1999 play explores the effects of the Great Depression on a set of characters living in the wake of New York’s Harlem Renaissance, the interwar cultural movement among the Black community in the famous New York neighborhood. The play is part of a larger celebration of the Harlem Renaissance around the South Side, including jazz concerts with poetry readings and an exhibition at the Beverly Arts Center. (Christian Belanger)

American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

Blue 1647 Tech Innovation Center, 1647 S. Blue Island Ave. Tuesday February 14. Free. (312) 880-7540.

Be among the first to see the documentary film chronicling the life and work of poet Dr. Maya Angelou, in a screening held before its nationwide premiere on PBS, as a part of AARP’s “Movies for Grownups” Series. (Nicole Bond)

Black Sex Matters – Black Joy is Resistance

Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. Saturday February 18, 6pm VIP Cocktail Hour, 7pm General Admission. $10 suggested donation, $20 advance VIP tickets, $25 VIP tickets at the door.

This event promises to be the place where Black means good, liberated, and outside the gaze of oppressive power structures. All are welcome to join playwright/activist Kristiana Rae Colón, in partnership with the Alphawood Foundation and Art AIDS America exhibit, in celebration of sensuality, with VIP cocktail reception, erotic poetry slam, body painting, @DJ, free HIV testing, and more. Portions of ticket and bar sales will support the #LetUsBreathe Collective. (Nicole Bond)

“Gentrified” at Harold Washington Cultural Center

Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Dr. Saturday, February 18, 7pm. $20.

This “explosive” documentary film from Black Channel Films promises to explore the process of gentrification or, as the film calls it, “ethnic cleansing American-style…the most devastating socioeconomic movement in America today.” Watch the film at Bronzeville’s Harold Washington Cultural Center and reflect on Chicago’s own complicated history of gentrification. (Jake Bittle)

The Moth: Chicago StorySLAM

The Promontory, 511 S. Lake Park Ave. Wednesday, February 15, 7pm. $10. 17+ unless accompanied by an adult. (312) 801-2100.

Every month at the Promontory, The Moth showcases the diversity of human experience by presenting real people and their stories. This month’s theme: “Love HURTS.” Watch, participate in, and enjoy a series of five-minute stories about real experiences of love gone bad. (Drew Holt)

Grown Folks Stories

The Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd St. Thursday, February 16, 8pm-10pm. Free.  (773) 947-0024.

Show up early to grab a seat and hear stories from people all over the city. Those who feel adventurous can grab a five-minute time slot and tell a story of their own. No themes required—just real life and real talk from real adults. (Rachel Henry)

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