Notes & Calendar 3/14/18

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


“Just a Guy Who Gives a Shit”

Before his decision to enter the 2019 Chicago mayoral race, Neal Sales-Griffin’s work experience was largely separate from politics—he mostly worked in tech, entrepreneurship, and education. The South Side native (he grew up in Kenwood and Hyde Park) founded a coding boot camp, The Starter League, before selling it in 2016, and is now the CEO of a nonprofit called CodeNow that teaches programming to underprivileged kids. He also teaches part-time at Northwestern, the UofC’s Booth School of Business, and Dyett High School in Washington Park. But coding boot camps are just part of his path—now, he’s planning to boot Rahm Emanuel out of office in next year’s mayoral election. Apparently, Sales-Griffin signed the official documents necessary to enter the race back in November, but only confirmed his plans to run to the Sun-Times this month. Sales-Griffin’s comments had all of the pizzazz you might expect of a politically disillusioned millennial: “I’m not a traditional politician. I’m just a guy who gives a shit.” To say he has no political experience whatsoever would be technically untrue, however: he was student body president at Northwestern, campaigned for Bernie Sanders in Iowa in 2016, and gave a speech introducing J.B. Pritzker last year when the candidate announced his campaign at a South Side gym. But some are already questioning whether Sales-Griffin’s background is adequate to make a run at Rahm. “You need to be able to read a budget [and] understand how the City Council works…It also takes a political base,” Dick Simpson, a UIC political science professor and former alderman, told Crain’s Chicago Business. “We’ve had bad experiences with people who get elected with no government experience.”

$10,000 Shakeup in the Illinois House District 5 Race

This Weekly staffer was getting his hair done in a salon on Cottage Grove the other week when a woman walked in asking for everyone’s attention. The salon is usually bustling with people walking in and out, looking for anything from a hair appointment to a buyer for homemade skincare remedies. On this particular day, however, a women named Dilara Sayeed walked in and announced that she planned to run for Democratic State Representative of the 5th district. She passed out flyers to everyone inside, and this staffer didn’t think about it, probably because he was more concerned with how much hair he had grown than the upcoming elections. This immediately changed when he learned that the Chicago Defender had fired managing editor Mary Datcher after she accepted a $10,000 payment from Sayeed on November 22, 2017. As its competitor the Chicago Crusader points out, the next day, the Defender published a story by freelancer Lee Edwards that praised Sayeed and did not mention other candidates. Sayeed has denied that this story was paid for, saying that the payment went towards field marketing work for a “visibility organization” that Datcher runs. Whether true or not, this isn’t a good look for Sayeed as she vows to win over Black voters from the 5th district on a campaign emphasizing transparency. The Crusader called for Sayeed to step out of the race, but whether this will hinder her campaign is in the hands of voters on March 20.

Displaced Woodlawn Residents in Good (Invisible) Hands

On February 27, former president Barack Obama made a surprise visit to a public meeting about the Presidential Center in his name set to open in Jackson Park. In response to an audience member’s question about what he was doing to protect Chicagoans in danger of displacement from the Jackson Park area because of rising rent costs, Obama promised to work with local organizations (presumably without signing a CBA) to offer affordable housing rates for seniors, disabled people, or those on a fixed income, but put everyone else in the invisible hands of the housing Free Market™. Obama acknowledged that if people want more jobs, more tax money for schools, and guest appearances by Chance the Rapper or Jay-Z, rents will have to increase—you just can’t have nice things (and a reasonably priced place to live, too). But Obama assured the audience that it need have no fear—economic development has to come first, and “significant gentrification” is something Malia’s kids will have to worry about. Still, we’re no economists here, but it might be worth worrying about how a single-family house in Woodlawn just sold for $599,000 (a record price, as Chicago Cityscape reported) and the neighborhood’s house prices have been rising faster than those in the Chicago area overall.



#IncreaseThePeace Forum on Gun Violence

St. Michael’s Social Center, 1949 W. 48th St. Wednesday, March 14, 4:30pm–6pm. Free. (773) 523-1248.

In response to Chicago’s continued gun violence crisis and the recent surge of national activism around gun violence in the wake of the Parkland shooting, St. Michael’s and the Resurrection Project are convening a forum where youth will ask candidates for local public office about their stances on gun control and community investment. (Jake Bittle)

Urban Think & Drink—Exposure is Key: My Block, My Hood, My City

Metropolitan Planning Council, 140 S. Dearborn St. Thursday, March 15, 5pm–7pm. $15. (312) 922-5616.

Come see Jahmal Cole—founder of My Hood, My Block, My City (MHMBMC)—speak about the subject matter of his new book, Exposure is Key: Solving Violence by Exposing Teens to Opportunities. Some of the students that have participated in the MHMBMC program and Darryl Holliday from City Bureau will attend as well. (Michael Wasney)

Creative Tech Expo Englewood

Kennedy-King College, 740 W. 63rd St. Thursday, March 15, 4pm–8pm and Friday, March 16, 4pm–8:30pm. Free with registration.

Are you interested in engaging more with the tech world? Creative Tech Expo Englewood is offering you that chance, whether you live in Englewood or elsewhere. This will be a great opportunity not only to hear experts talk about the ins and out of the industry but also to network with tech startups, companies, and other employers. (Michael Wasney)

The Big Idea Show

BOP Biz Chatham Suites, 644 E. 79th St. March 16–30. Fridays, 9am–11am. Free. (773) 891-5939.

Every Friday, the Big Idea Show provides a platform for business owners, activists, and entrepreneurs alike to discuss their big ideas. Hosts Linda Perez and Toure Muhammad—business owners in their own right—will discuss with their guests the secret to succeeding in Chicago with their guests. Find out that secret for yourself by attending this Friday. (Michael Wasney)

Women’s Luncheon at Rainbow PUSH

Rainbow PUSH National Headquarters, 930 E. 50th St. Saturday, March 17, 11am–3pm, luncheon noon–2pm. Free. (773) 373-3366.

A luncheon and exhibition at the headquarters of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition will serve as a celebration of Women’s History Month and the renewal of the historic Women’s Division of the Coalition. That division was once headed by Willie T. Barrow, a minister and activist who started the organization with Jesse Jackson; she was Barack Obama’s godmother. She passed in 2015. (Jake Bittle)


Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream Zine Release

Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar, 960 W. 31st St. Wednesday, March 14, 5pm. Free. (773) 890-0588.

Bridgeport locals submitted to and created a zine called Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream, which features stories about food, coffee, and culture. Come by Maria’s, Bridgeport’s celebrated craft beer bar, to buy the zine for three dollars and get a chance to nosh on, you guessed it, pizza, fried chicken, and ice cream. (Joseph S. Pete)

A Tender Power: A Black Womanist Visual Manifesto

Rootwork Gallery, 645 W. 18th St. Opening reception Friday, March 16, 7pm–10pm. Through May 18. Free. (917) 821-3050.

In its upcoming exhibition, Rootwork explores the power of testimonials by Black women, and the long history of Black women’s physical, emotional, and spiritual labor and a call for reciprocity within society. This opening will feature work by Kimberly M. Harmon and Tracie D. Hall, inspired by the writing of Bessie Head, music of Alice Coltrane, activism of Sandra Bland, and so much more. (Roderick Sawyer)

Opening Reception: Arte Diseño Xicágo

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Opening reception Friday, March 23, 6pm–8pm. Through August 19. Free. (312) 738-1503.

Arte Diseño Xicágo, a part of Art Design Chicago, examines the early artistic involvement and influence of Mexican immigrants in Chicago. This exhibition will include photographs and objects that focus on years between the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and the Civil Rights Era of the 1970s. The exhibition will continue through August in the main gallery of the museum. (Roderick Sawyer)

Louder Than A Bomba

Chicago Art Department, 1932 S. Halsted St. Wednesday, March 14, 6pm–8pm. Free. (312) 725-4223.

The annual Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) poetry festival is reaching a close, but you still have time to attend this open mic and showcase featuring Latinx poets. All are welcome to come and listen to Chicago’s very own talented poets in the making. (Roderick Sawyer)


Sounds Great on Paper

Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St. Friday, March 16, 7pm–midnight. $5 admission for concert at 9pm, tickets available on Eventbrite. (773) 823-9700.

Album covers are an art in their own right: the best are immortal, the worst are immortal for different reasons. This one-night-only exhibition at Co-Pro commemorates album covers that should have been but never were. At 9pm, a suite of musicians including RADIO SHAQ will kick off a concert to round out the night. (Jake Bittle)

Mike Dunn: The Truth

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Saturday, March 17, 10pm–3am. $15 in advance (tickets available on Eventbrite), $20 at the door. (312) 801-2100.

Englewood native Mike Dunn is a legend among legends in the Chicago house music world, a thirty-year turntable veteran who’s collaborated with DJs across generations. The Promontory will celebrate his birthday with assistance from DJs Terry Hunter, Gene Hunt, and Andre Hatchett–– plus a set from Dunn himself. (Jake Bittle)

Lyrics of Fury

Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. Martin Luther King Dr. Saturday, March 17, doors 6pm, show 7pm–11pm. $30–$50. (317) 900-3055.

If you missed Twista last weekend, you’re in luck: the South Side MC (and one-time holder of the Guinness World Record for fastest rhymes) is back for more. He’ll be joined by Shawnna and Rakim for an evening moderated by WGCI host Leon Rogers and Sheree Luckett. (Christopher Good)

Rewind! All UK Garage Special

Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar, 960 W. 31st St. Sunday, March 18, noon–8pm. Free. (773) 890-0568.

Relive the golden days of rave with a boozy brunch and B2B sets from the city’s finest garage DJs. Breakbeats from across the pond? Draft beers? A full English breakfast? All on tap. (Christopher Good)

Chicago Music Association: Black Heritage Concert

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr. Sunday, March 18, 4pm–6pm. Free. (773) 256-0149.

The Chicago Music Association, now nearing its hundredth anniversary, welcomes all to its annual Theodore Charles Stone Black Heritage Concert. The event, named for the organization’s former president, will feature performances from woodwinds, vocalists, dramatists, and vibraphonists. (Christopher Good)


Literally Dozens of Showings of Black Panther

Various South Side locations, check theaters for show times.

If you haven’t heard—Black Panther is the super-charged superhero movie that is breaking records: a predominantly Black cast featuring Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett, a Black director (Ryan Coogler), and over $1 billion at box offices.  Several South Side theaters have over a dozen shows a day, crowding out most of the other big film releases. At Harper Theater, they’re sharing the love with A Wrinkle In Time, another Black-creator-led blockbuster that’s at the #2 box office spot. (Katie Gruber)

The Other Side of Immigration

Casa Michoacán, 1638 S. Blue Island Ave. Wednesday, March 14, 7pm. Free admission.

In a collaboration with Casa Michoacán, South Side Projections presents a series of films about undocumented immigrants which will screen at various South Side locations through June. This film, the second in the series, is based on over 700 interviews conducted in Mexican towns, and asks why so many Mexicans come to the U.S. and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind. (Nicole Bond)

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. March 15–April 15. $38–$71. (773) 753-4472.

The classic 1967 film about the latent racism that surfaces when an upper-class San Francisco couple hosts their daughter and her Black doctor fiancé has been adapted for the stage by playwright Todd Kreidler. The acclaimed Marti Lyons, who’s directed for several theaters in Chicago, makes her Court directorial debut with this still-topical adaptation. (Joseph S. Pete)

The Chills – Teen Night

DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl. Friday, March 16, 6pm–9pm. Free. (773) 947-0600.

Yollocalli Arts Reach has teamed up with the DuSable to celebrate the year of creative youth in Chicago and present the first of three teen-focused evenings, featuring art activities, an open mic, opportunities to explore the museum, music, food, and more. (Nicole Bond)

The Women of Brewster Place

Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, 1456 E. 70th St. Friday, March 16, 7pm–9pm. Free admission.

The 1989 dramatic television mini-series about the lives of a group of resilient women living in an eastern housing project, adapted from the Gloria Naylor novel, featuring Cicely Tyson, Robin Givens and Oprah Winfery, will be screened with a discussion to follow. (Nicole Bond)

A Midsummer’s Night Dream

Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. March 16–18; Friday and Saturday, 7pm; Sunday, 2pm. $10–$13. (773) 445-3838.

Colleen O’Connor directs this updated version of the classic Shakespeare comedy in which a mischievous elf and four lovers run loose in a steampunk forest. BAC’s Star Production is staging the lighthearted play about romance, mistaken identities and that memorable hobgoblin, sweet Puck. (Joseph S. Pete)

Graphic!: Art, Technology, and Social Change Chicago Humanities Festival

Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Ave. Thursday, March 22, 6:30pm–8:30pm. $10–$20. Student, teacher, and member discounts available.

MacArthur Fellow LaToya Ruby Frazier, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, and United States Artists President and CEO Chief Deana Haggag will present their work at Graphic!: Art, Technology, and Social Change. The event kicks off the Chicago Humanities Festival’s year-long Graphic! theme, which explores how new visual forms on mobile screens, social networks, and streaming services are changing the world. (Joseph S. Pete)


Chicago Food Encyclopedia

Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St. Thursday, April 6, 6pm-7:30pm. Free, but tickets required. (312) 943-9090.

A former Tribune food editor, a professor emeritus of Roosevelt University, and a food journalist and historian have assembled an encyclopedia of Chicago food. Its entries are ordered A-Z, and includes things like Alinea, Rick Bayless, and of course, hot dogs. Come to hear co-editors and contributor Bill Daley discuss their “ultimate reference on Chicago and its food,” and stick around after to get a copy to signed by them. (Joseph S. Pete)

South Lakefront Framework Plan

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr. Tuesday, March 13 and Wednesday March 14, 5:30pm–8pm.

These two meetings, the last in a series of public meetings about the impending changes to Jackson Park and the greater south lakefront area, will “be focused on the options for recreational, ecological, and cultural park uses” going forward. No new information about the Obama Presidential Center will be made available, but park planners will display the draft framework plan, including both the presidential center and golf course plans, for residents to look at and comment on. (Emeline Posner)

South Branch Parks Framework Plan

Park 571, 2828 S. Eleanor St. Wednesday, March 14, 5:30pm–7:30pm. Free. (312) 922-5616.

On Wednesday evening, the South Branch Park Advisory Council will host a “visioning meeting” for the South Branch of the Chicago River. For those who live along, or spend time in, any of the South Branch Parks (Canalport, Canal Origins, or Park 571), this meeting may be the place to learn about what changes are coming to these parks, and to offer input. (Emeline Posner)

Greenhouse Production Workshop

South Chicago Farm, 8900 S. Green Bay Ave. Saturday, March 17, 8:30am–5pm. $100, scholarships available. (773) 376-8882.

The Urban Growers Collective’s workshop “Greenhouse Production: Seeding, Transplanting & Marketing Crops” offers hands-on training for planting, harvesting, and packaging crops. Growers can also pick up valuable tips about marketing to sell at restaurants, farmers markets, and Community Supported Agriculture programs. In addition, the collective will host group discussions and Q&A sessions. (Joseph S. Pete)

Lake Michigan Fisheries Workshop

Chicago Maritime Museum, 1200 W. 35th St. Tuesday, March 20, 6pm–8:30pm. (773) 376-1982.

The Chicago Maritime Museum is “calling all anglers, charter captains, and lake enthusiasts” for a free workshop on changes in the Lake Michigan food web, yellow perch fisheries, and lake trout reproduction. At the helm will be Mitchell Zischke, an assistant professor at Perdue with expertise in fish biology and fisheries science. (Emeline Posner)

Good Food Expo: The Good Food Festival

UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd. Saturday, March 24, 10am–5pm. Entrance free with online registration. (312) 874-7360.

It may be the last in a month-long stretch of food policy and farming conventions, but it’s certainly not the least. For the fourteenth iteration of the Good Food Expo, expect exciting presentations—on beekeeping, quail-keeping, foraging, and more—from familiar faces. (Emeline Posner)

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