Notes & Calendar 3/1/17

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


Michael Reese Hospital Refinanced But Not Revived

Earlier this week, DNAinfo reported on a grand plan for the redevelopment of the long-vacant Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville, one that “pulls from just about every previous idea for the site.” The aptly-named Imagine Development outlined a scheme for high-rise and mid-rise condos and apartments, sports complexes, an entertainment district, and potentially even an extension campus for a Chinese university. If DNAinfo has not given the proposal the kiss of death by comparing it to Chicago’s other “city within a city” concept, McCaffery Interests’s ill-fated Lakeside development, then the city may select Imagine’s redevelopment plan. A decision should be announced by April 6. Meanwhile, back in the land of reality, Mayor Rahm Emanuel refinanced the city’s debt on the Michael Reese property for a second time, lowering the interest rate on the city’s loan and thus reducing the debt burden on Chicago taxpayers from $120 million to a measly $116 million.

CPS Strikes Back

In a shocking move, CPS officials and state politicians once again placed CPS students in the middle of their political crossfire on Monday when district officials announced that it might end this school year two and a half weeks early unless Springfield lawmakers give more money to CPS or a court orders them to do so. The announcement came almost two weeks after five CPS families filed a lawsuit against the State of Illinois on behalf of the school district, citing that the state is violating the civil rights of CPS students because of the unequal distribution of funds across the state. The lawsuit describes two unequal systems for funding public education in Illinois: one for Chicago, whose public enrollment is ninety percent children of color, and another for the rest of Illinois, whose public school children are predominantly white.

But both the lawsuit and Monday’s announcement drew much criticism. When CPS held a press conference about the lawsuit at Lindblom High School in Englewood, more than fifty Lindblom students staged a walkout protesting cuts and denouncing CPS leaders. Illinois has some of the worst school funding disparities in the country, with Chicago schools receiving seventy-one cents to every dollar received by other school districts in the state, but CPS neighborhood schools on the South and West Sides—where the district’s poorest students live—consistently get the short end of the funding stick. In a statement released Monday, the Chicago Teachers Union called the lawsuit “a cynical political ploy designed to divert attention from the failed leadership and flawed decision-making of Mayor Emanuel.”



Metro Planning Council Roundtable on Historic Pullman

Metropolitan Planning Council, 140 S. Dearborn St., Ste. 1400. Wednesday, March 1, noon–1:30pm. $15 for MPC donors, $30 for non-donors. RSVP required. (312) 863-6010.

At this roundtable, presenters will talk about Pullman’s recent resurgence, what lessons from this resurgence can be applied elsewhere in the city, and how the company town can fulfill the promise of its National Monument status under a new federal administration. Attendees will also discuss how to use Pullman’s growth to lift up surrounding South Side neighborhoods. (Joseph S. Pete)

Haki Madhubuti: The Black Arts Movement and Beyond

Institute of Politics, 5707 S. Woodlawn Ave., Thursday, March 2, 6pm–7:15pm, doors 5:30pm. Free. RSVP online. (773) 834-4671.

UChicago’s Organization of Black Students co-sponsors a conversation with educator, author, poet, and founder/chairman of the nation’s largest Black-owned independent publisher, Third World Press, Dr. Haki Madhubuti. Along with an empowering discussion expected to range from the Black Arts Movement to South Side political engagement, Madhubuti will also read select works from his collection of original poetry. RSVP is required, but seating is limited, on a first-come-first-served basis. (Nicole Bond)

State of the State Coffee

Harper Court, 5235 S. Harper Ct., 11th floor. Friday, March 3, 10am–noon. Free. (773) 288-0124.

The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce will be hosting State of the State Coffee, where members of the local business community will have the opportunity to discuss relevant Illinois policies with elected state officials. State Senator Kwame Raoul, State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, and State Representative Christian Mitchell will be in attendance. (Michael Wasney)

Panel and Discussion: How Do We Know What Education Reforms Work?

UChicago Charter School Woodlawn Campus, 6420 S. University Ave. Thursday, March 9, 6:30pm–8:30pm. Free. RSVP online. (312) 422-5580.

At this event, Illinois Humanities brings together academics, parents, and community members to talk about which education initiatives work, and how stakeholders can make those judgments themselves. The panel will include Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, Charles Payne of the University of Chicago, Charles Tocci of Loyola University, and Mariela Estrada of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. (Hafsa Razi)


Tiffany Gholar at William Hill Gallery

William Hill Gallery, 6442 S. Dorchester Ave. Through Saturday, March 4. Friday–Sunday, 11am–6pm. Closing reception Saturday, March 4, 6pm–9pm. Free. (312) 351-0573.

Artist, interior designer, and writer Tiffany Gholar takes a fun-house mirror to the world of Barbie in her photography series “The Doll House.” Putting books like How To Lose Weight in their hands and attaching skeletal legs to these dolls, Gholar chases the unattainable body image and beauty standards pressed upon young girls in advertising, media, and, of course, children’s toys. (Emily Lipstein)


Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Through June 25. Free. Monday–Thursday, 9am–8pm; Friday–Saturday, 9am–5pm; Sunday, 12–5pm. (773) 324-5520.

Artist Jim Duignan returns to the Hyde Park Arts Center to reimagine types of spaces where learning takes place. PUBLIC SCHOOL transforms objects like a fort, a stage, and a school bus into a playground that doubles as an alternative learning environment. The exhibit will also incorporate interactive workshops, classes, and performances that explore different ways of valuing education. (Hafsa Razi)

Semblance of Order

Uri-Eichen Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted Ave. Opening reception Friday, March 10, 6pm–10pm. Open by appointment through April 7. (312) 852-7717.

In an era of heightened concern over the use of security and safety technologies, the latest project of Michael Rado, Frances Lightbound, and Louis Kishfy is timely. The trio behind the Topographies of Defense project last year now returns to their examination of “defensive architecture” in Chicago with photos that aim to identify—and dismantle—design that promotes security, authority, and ownership. (Julia Aizuss)

Heather Mekkelson: In Absentia Luci

4th Ward Project Space, 5338 S. Kimbark Ave. Through Sunday, March 16. Saturdays, 1pm-5pm. Free.

Where will you be on Sunday the 26th if not here? In her new show in Hyde Park gallery 4th Ward Project Space, Heather Mekkelson examines the fundamental constructs of time, space, and number that guide us in discovering our place in the universe through her own sculptural constructions and assemblages. (Corinne Butta)


The Radio Dept.

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Saturday, March 4, 7:30pm doors, 8:30pm show. $15 online, $18 floor, $20 seated. 17+. (312) 526-3851.

Indie pop group The Radio Dept. have been a going concern since the heyday of indie, when their hazy guitar pop made its debut on Lesser Matters in 2003. They’ve since grown, toward songcraft and even, recently, politics. We’ll see whether that newfound social awareness makes an appearance at Thalia Hall this Saturday. (Austin Brown)

The Era + Friends

Promontory Chicago, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Sunday, March 5, 6pm. $5 online, $10 at the door. All ages. (312) 801-2100.

Chicago’s preeminent footwork dance crew The Era will be bringing their juke moves to The Promontory on Saturday. Accompanying them will be Teklife producers DJ Manny and DJ Phil, along with such rising talents as a cappella group The Remedy (past Weekly profilees) and producer Jody Digital. (Austin Brown)

Uli Jon Roth: Tokyo Tapes Revisited

Reggies Rock Club, 2105 S. State St. Friday, March 3, 7pm. $20 general admission, $40 above stage, $60 balcony. 17+. (312) 949-0120.

Former Scorpions guitarist and neoclassical metal icon Uli Jon Roth will be touring around his recent live album, Tokyo Tapes Revisited–Live In Japan at Reggies this Friday. Expect riffs, vocal histrionics, and long, long hair—all good things, when it comes to this stuff. (Austin Brown)

Incantations for the Sunset Society

Listening House, 6918 S. Dorchester Ave. Friday, March 3, 7pm–10pm. Free. All ages. (312) 857-5561.

Stony Island Arts Bank pays homage to the legacy of house music with their Friday evening event curated by musician-in-residence Coultrain. He’ll be playing lounge and house classics indebted to the preserved record collection of Frankie Knuckles, so there’ll be fresh tunes for vets and househead newbies alike. (Austin Brown)


Intersectional Women’s Issues at Applied Words

Hosted by Guild Literary Complex, location TBA. Tuesday, March 14, 7pm. Free. (877) 394-5061.

March’s installation of the “Applied Words” series of critical conversations, hosted by Guild Literary Complex, will focus on the representation of women in media and the impact these representations have on young women. Dr. Nicole Spigner, a professor of African-American literature at Columbia College, will moderate the discussion. (Jake Bittle)

By the Apricot Trees

eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm through Sunday, April 2. See website for prices. (773) 752-3955.

eta’s new production, written by Ntsako Mkhabela, follows the story of TK, the only girl arrested in a famous series of protests led by black South African schoolchildren in 1976. The children took to the streets of Soweto, a township outside of Johannesburg, to protest the introduction of Afrikaans as the official language of schooling. They were met with a brutal response from the police. (Jake Bittle)

Hobo King

Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., 3rd Floor. Thursday, March 2 through Sunday, March 5. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 7:30pm. Saturday and Sunday, 2pm. Tickets $19.50–$27. Student and Senior discounts available. (773) 935-6875. 

Congo Square Theatre ensemble member Javon Johnson premieres Hobo King, an urban drama inspired by true events, when a city’s homeless community mobilized to survive in the wake of police misconduct against one of their own. Strong language. Not suitable for younger audiences. No late seating. (Nicole Bond)

The Hard Problem

Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. March 9 through April 9; showtimes vary. $38–$48. (773) 753-4472.

Acclaimed playwright Tom Stoppard, whose long list of credits includes Arcadia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Shakespeare in Love, has a new play. The Hard Problem, directed by Charles Newell, concerns a young psychologist who’s grappling with some of the biggest philosophical questions about human consciousness. (Joseph S. Pete)

The Marriage of Bette & Boo

University Church, 5655 S. University Ave. Friday and Saturday, 8pm show; Sunday, 3pm show. Through March 12. $12 online, $15 at door.

For two weekends, Hyde Park Community Players will present an “acidic, ironic” dark comedy about marriage, mental illness, alcoholism, and the many, many difficulties of family relationships. (Jake Bittle)

I Be Done Been Was Is

DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl. Tuesday, March 7, 7pm–9pm. Free. (773) 947-0600.

As part of its Margaret Burroughs Centennial Film Series, presented in collaboration with South Side Projections, DuSable will show a 1984 documentary focusing on four black women comedians, following them backstage and on the road and exploring “the pain and absurdity of everyday life.” (Jake Bittle)

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