Notes & Calendar 2/21/18

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


One Week Later, Konkol Got Konked

It takes a big publication to admit when you’re wrong, and we are nothing if not a big publication. So: we were wrong about Mark Konkol. Last week, in this space, we sadly predicted that we would be dealing with Konkol’s new executive editorship of the Reader, the city’s other, larger alt-weekly, for some time to come. Alas, it was not to be; after unceremoniously firing the editor-in-chief as he returned from his honeymoon, reportedly bullying and intimidating the hardworking and underpaid staff, pairing a young Black writer’s column with cover art mocking Black political leaders that the writer (and everyone else) found to be exploitative, and attempting to institute the word “Konkol” as a verb, he was unceremoniously fired by his boss, the former North Side alderman Edwin Eisendrath. Hey, there’s an idea—maybe that’s what “to Konkol” should mean.

Thicker than Water 

U.S. Steel just can’t get it right. Last April, a plant in Portage, Indiana (about twenty-five miles across the border with Chicago) spilled more than 346 pounds of soupy, carcinogenic hexavalent chromium into Lake Michigan. Apologies were made, wrists were slapped––and then, in October, the hapless steelworks managed to spill more toxic waste into one of America’s largest freshwater reservoirs. So, what do you do after being fooled twice? In January, the advocacy group the Surfrider Foundation filed a lawsuit against U.S. Steel. One week later, the City of Chicago piled on with another lawsuit. It’s exciting to think that conditions on the waterfront might improve: surfers have complained about health issues and rashes for years, and beaches near the Portage plant can “[smell] worse than an ashtray,” Surfrider’s lawsuit states. But even if U.S. Steel gets fined, the toll on Lake Michigan remains. Controversial Taiwanese tech firm Foxconn, for instance, intends to draw seven million gallons of water a day out of Lake Michigan once it opens a branch in Racine, Wisconsin, the Tribune reports.

Ed Burke Lands in Hot (Dog) Water

If the saying goes that dog is man’s best friend, then in Chicago, naturally, hot dog is alderman’s best friend. This is the case, at least, for two major South Side institutions: Vienna Beef and 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke. Just nine months after Burke lobbied for Vienna Beef to receive a $4.97 million dollar tax deal after the company moved into an abandoned Bridgeport factory in 2013, Burke’s law firm gained a new client. Guess who? A Sun-Times investigation found that Burke’s firm saved its new client Vienna Beef $308,460 in property taxes between 2015 and 2016, while the Bridgeport factory was not yet “fully occupied.” Burke, on the other hand, reported that Vienna paid his firm between $5,000 and $24,999 each year. Since then, Vienna has given $6,000 in donations to Burke’s campaign fund. Sounds fishy—but if we’re being frank, Burke has been dogged by accusations that he’s violated city conflict-of-interest rules for years now, and this likely won’t be the last time city watchdogs have beef with Burke. As politicians say, “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made,” but in this case, maybe we should actually watch the tax deals and hot dogs being made.

Line ’Em Up!

City officials are once again on the hot seat for withholding documents in order to obscure police officers’ misconduct. This is part of the city’s longstanding commitment to serve and protect…themselves—when they might do well to do so for Chicago residents themselves. Federal judges have sanctioned the city’s Law Department no less than nine times since Mayor Rahm Emanuel, pledging government transparency, took office. Last December, a family sued the Law Department for withholding the disciplinary history during the indictment of an ex-officer who killed two people while driving drunk; it was revealed earlier this month that the Law Department had similarly withheld the disciplinary documents for two officers involved in another misconduct case, in which a woman contested the legality of their search warrant. Now, the city’s penchant for protecting its police over its people is coming to bear: U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly has said he’ll “start lining [Chicago Officials] up” to get to the bottom of the Law Department’s worrisome habit.

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The Operation HOPE Small Business Success Workshop

Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation, 815 W. 63rd St., 4th floor. Wednesday, February 21, 1pm–4pm. Free. RSVP at

Do dream of starting your own business? Join Operation HOPE’s Small Business Success Workshop as they show you how to make your dream a reality. Learn about creating a business plan and using social media and mobile marketing tools. Optimize your credit score, understand grants, micro loans, and other helpful business resources. (Maple Joy)

Envisioning Interventions for Housing Justice

The Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St., 2nd Floor. Wednesday, February 21, noon–2pm. Free. RSVP at

Listen as housing experts including political consultant and former mayoral candidate Amara Eniya, UIC urban planning professor Janet Smith, and the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Alden Loury discuss two lenses through which “housing justice” is viewed: “Equity” and “Integration.” Part one of a two-part panel series. (Sam Stecklow)

Democratic Primary Candidate Forums

3rd Congressional District: Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Pkwy, Palos Hills. Wednesday, February 21, 7pm–8pm. Free.

25th State House District: Hyatt Place Chicago—South/University Medical Center, 5225 S. Harper Ave. Wednesday, February 21, 6pm–8pm. Free.

4th Congressional District:  Cicero Community Center, 2250 S. 49th Ave, Cicero. Monday, February 26, 7pm–8pm. Free.

In Chicago, the Democratic primaries matter a whole lot more than the general election—you can never be too well-informed. In that spirit, we encourage everyone living in Illinois’s 3rd and 4th Congressional districts—which include a number of South Side neighborhoods—and 25th State House district, which covers the south lakefront, to attend these upcoming forums In the 3rd district hear from incumbent conservative Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski and liberal nonprofit founder Marie Newman. In the 4th, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, nonprofit founder Sol Flores, and Chicago police sergeant Richard Gonzalez all make their pitches as to why they should replace outgoing Rep. Luis Gutiérrez. In the 25th State House district, meet six of the seven candidates vying to replace longtime State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie. (Sam Stecklow)

Gateway to Healing

Greenline Coffee, 501 E. 61st St. Wednesday, February 24, 11am–1pm. $12-$18. 18+.

Join Sista Afya’s February Community Workshop to learn how to find mental wellness tools and resources. Bring your laptop or tablet as you are shown how to use technology to find various therapists, healers, social services, and wellness services. Receive a Resource Empowerment Packet and enjoy free Wi-Fi, refreshments, and community support. (Maple Joy)

Englewood Speaks: I Remember When

Kusanya Cafe, 825 W. 69th St. Saturday, February 24, 7pm. Free. (773) 675-4758.

Come listen as Sonny Speaks regales an audience with tales of Englewood’s glory days. Sonny will use a refreshing blend of comedy, history, and music to tell these community-based narratives about the neighborhood. (Katie Gruber)

Black History Month African American Lit Fest

Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St. February 3–26.

Kick off Black History Month by getting lit with the African American Lit Fest. The Soulful Chicago Book Fair, in partnership with the Chicago Public Library African American Services Committee, will host a series of events with local authors, poets, and storytellers throughout the month. (Erisa Apantaku)

Charlene Carruthers at Chi Hack Night

Braintree, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plz., 8th Floor. Tuesday, February 27th, 6pm. RSVP required.

In the fourth installment of Chi Hack Night and Smart Chicago Collaborative’s Women in Tech speaker series, Charlene Carruthers will present at Merchandise Mart at the end of this month. Come hear her talk about her work with BYP100 toward the social, political, economic, and educational equality of black folk. (Michael Wasney)


Zinesters Fest

Lo Rez Brewing, 2101 S. Carpenter St. Friday, February 23, 6pm–10pm. Free. All ages. (888) 404-2262.

Lo Rez Brewing and Flores Negras Productions join up to host a night filled with local art. Check out a diverse curation of zine artists, watch live art, and listen to poetry. Enjoy the Pilsen art scene along with a live DJ and, of course, beer. (Veronica Karlin)

Typeforce 9 Opening Night

Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St. Friday, February 23, 6pm–11pm. Free.

The ninth annual written word festival hosted at Lumpen’s Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport, Typeforce features work from over two dozen artists and promises “flashing neon lights, concrete structures, computer-generated flesh glyph videos, cocktails, laughter and bumpin’ jams.” (Sam Stecklow)

Luminous Procuress

Logan Center for the Arts, Screening Room 201, 915 E. 60th St. Friday, February 23, 7pm. Free. (773) 702-8596.

Salvador Dali protégé Steven Arnold made a queer underground epic feature film shot in an abandoned industrial laundry works in San Francisco that’s been described as a “wide-eyed hippie bacchanal with cosmic aspirations.” It played at the Whitney in New York City and the Cannes Film Festival, and was recently restored by the Berkeley Art Museum. (Joseph S. Pete)

AMFM Presents: The Jazz Series LIVE

Connect Gallery, 1520 E. Harper Ct. Friday, February 23, 7pm–11pm.

AMFM’s Jazz Series pop-up will be coming to Hyde Park this February. Come by Connect Gallery to hear musicians John Renaissance, KoStar, Fanetic, and Tommy Carroll & Band perform live. Various other artists and groups will be performing and exhibiting their own media as well, which will span everything from tap dance to body art. (Michael Wasney)


Cycles of My Being

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Thursday, February 22, 7pm–9pm. $15, $10 for DuSable members. (312) 827-5600.

Just two days after its world premiere in Philadelphia, “Cycles of My Being”––an ambitious new song cycle exploring the Black experience in America––will debut at the DuSable. Acclaimed tenor Lawrence Brownlee will star, with piano accompaniment by Myra Huang. One night only. (Christopher Good)

Bodymilk V: Ariel Zetina, Shyyness, Jenna Lyle, Ted Moore

Ashland Gymnasium, 1808 S. Ashland Ave., 3rd floor. Friday, February 23, 9pm–12am. $5 suggested donation. BYOB. Contact

Experimental label Bodymilk Tapes will be hosting the fifth installment of their monthly concert series this Friday, with a lineup featuring upbeat mixes and synth pop. Come out to listen to cutting-edge music performed and produced by Chicagoans, including Ariel Zetina, Shyyness, Jenna Lyle, and Ted Moore. (Veronica Karlin)

Ak’chamel, Last King of Poland, Mako Sica, Pet Peeves

Archer Ballroom, 3012 S. Archer Ave. #3. Friday, February 23, 8pm. $7. (312) 972-5691.

If Archer Ballroom’s event description is to be believed, then “stone age vibrations” and “flourishes of western psychedelia” can be expected from Ak’chamel’s performance this friday. They’ll be joined by local acts Pet Peeves, Mako Sica, and Last King of Poland. (Christopher Good)

West Indian Dance Theater Company

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Saturday, February 24, noon–1pm. $10. (773) 947-0600.

According to founder Alfred Baker, the West Indian Dance Theater Company’s motto is “Speed, Strength & Projection.” On Saturday, they’ll bring all three––via singers, dancers, and plenty of percussion––for an upbeat afternoon at DuSable. (Christopher Good)

Hooligan Mag Four Year Art Collective

RutCorp. Saturday, February 24, 1pm–11pm. Free. RSVP at for address, details, and more. 

With four years curating Chicago art and culture under its belt, Hooligan Mag is ready for a birthday bash. Make the trip to Bridgeport for ten hours of live music, comedy, and spoken word. (Michael Wasney)


All of Me

La Catrina Cafe, 1011 W. 18th St. Wednesday, February 28, 7pm. Free.

Llévate Mis Amores (All of Me) documents a multigenerational group of women who provide food, clothing, and sundries to migrants riding the rails to the United States. Film critic Marco Escalante will lead a post-screening discussion on the first film in South Side Projections’s long-in-the-works screening series about undocumented immigrants. (Joseph S. Pete)

Timuel D. Black Recalls DuSable High School’s Landmark Legacy as a Lesson for Today

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Sunday, February 25, 3pm– 5pm. (773) 946-0600,

Civil rights champion and historian Timuel Black will address issues in education with his reflections on the legacy of DuSable High School in Bronzeville. The long list of famous DuSable students includes Nat King Cole, Harold Washington, and Timuel Black. (Katie Gruber)

People Say…Open Mic Series

Trap House Chicago, 7955 S. Ashland Ave. Friday, February 23, 7:30pm. Free. (773) 952-4765.

Usually on the third Friday of each month, but this time rescheduled for Black Panther, Trap House Chicago’s Mashaun Ali and poet resi.sTAnce host their free monthly open mic series. Aside from featured artist Tweak’G, expect talented rappers, poets, storytellers, and any other medium to be brought into the mix. If you’re interested in performing, the sign-up starts at 7:30pm. (Michael Wasney)

Black Girls (Can) Fly!

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Tuesday, February 27, 10am. Free. (773) 937-0111.

Director, educator, and playwright Sydney Chatman presents an ode to Black aviatrix and girls worldwide. This award-winning production celebrates the power and possibilities of Black girls, with cast members who appeared in last year’s annual Bud Billiken Parade and the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival. (Nicole Bond)

Spotlight Reading Series: Dance on the Widow’s Row

NEIU Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd. Monday, February 26, 6:30pm. For free, limited/reserved seating. Visit

The Spotlight Reading Series features staged readings of plays by writers of color whose work is often missing from the traditional canon. Dance on the Widow’s Row is a comedy set in an eastern North Carolina coastal community, where four widows who have buried nine husbands between them set out to find love amidst small-town values and gossip. (Nicole Bond)

Eye of the Storm: The Bayard Rustin Story

eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Friday, February 9–Sunday, March 11. Fridays and Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 3pm. $40, discounts available for seniors, students, and groups. (773) 752-3955.

Playwright McKinley Johnson tells the story of behind-the-scenes Civil Rights Movement organizer Bayard Rustin, whose work garnered him the moniker “The Architect of the March on Washington.”  (Nicole Bond)

Sydney R. Daniels Oratorical Festival

Harold Washington College, room 1115, 30 E. Lake Street. Tuesday, February 27, 2pm–4pm. Free. (312) 553-5600.

The annual Sydney R. Daniels Black History Month Oratorical Festival by Harold Washington College’s English, Speech & Theatre Department offers scholarships to all participants, including $1,000 to the first-place winner. Orators are tasked with commemorating educators, humanitarians, scientists, politicians, and other influential African Americans. (Joseph S. Pete)

The Extraordinary Everyday Marriage Duo

South Side Weekly Radio Hour. Tuesdays in February, 3pm–4pm. WHPK 88.5FM or

Listen to authors Sean and Dorian H. Nash during a four-part series dedicated to love and relationships. The Duo will share key elements they have learned for building and sustaining a healthy marriage, as described in their book, Do You Love Me Still? Listeners are invited to call in their relationship questions for the Duo to answer live on-air for the final segment on February 27. Questions can be voice mailed now to (224) 215-1890. (The Weekly Read)


City Bureau Public Newsroom: Property Taxes

Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. Thursday, February 22, 6pm–8pm. Free. (773) 819-5188.

Property taxes got you confused, stressed, or generally down? At this week’s public newsroom, journalists at ProPublica Illinois will first walk you through their reporting on Cook County’s unfair and error-ridden property tax system, and then help you through your own assessment or appeal—bring a copy. (Emeline Posner)

Chicago Food Policy Summit

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr. Friday, February 23, summit 9am–5pm, reception 5:30pm–7:30pm. Reception $10, summit and reception $20.

Registration is now open for the thirteenth annual Chicago Food Policy Summit, organized around this year’s theme, “From Survive to Thrive.” The event is hosted by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council, a volunteer organization advocating for equal access to healthy food options in the city. Details about summit workshops, speakers, and vendors to be announced. (Tammy Xu)

Healthy Food Hub Pop-Up Market Day

Chicago State University Library, 9501 S. King Dr. Saturday, February 24, 11am–1pm. (773) 410-3446.

Come find produce, spices, and other goods at the Healthy Food Hub’s Chicago State University pop-up market day. The Englewood-based agricultural cooperative is taking a break from its normal weekly schedule for the winter, so don’t sleep on what may be the Hub’s only market day until the spring. Arrive at 9am to participate in an intro class for the Hub’s Lifeboat Permaculture Design Certification and Commercial Farm Training. (Emeline Posner)

Chicago Community Gardeners Conference

Kennedy-King College, 740 W. 63rd St., Building U. Saturday, March 3, 8:30am–2:15pm. $25, $15 for students and children, $5 discount for CCGA volunteers.

Calling all community gardeners: the CCGA’s sixth annual “Garden to Garden” conference is quickly approaching. The six workshop sessions cover topics from heavy metal contamination of soil to planning a community garden from scratch. There will also be presentations from some of Chicago’s most-loved gardeners, and “speed gardening” (we’re not entirely sure what that means—you’ll have to find out for yourself). You’ll be sure to leave well-prepared for the upcoming growing season. Spanish translation available. Meals included in registration. (Emeline Posner)

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