Notes & Calendar 4/11/18

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


No Cars2Go on the South Side

Two weeks ago, City Council approved a pilot program for Car2Go, a car sharing service that allows members to rent a car and park at any legal curbside parking space. The service area for the pilot excludes much of the West Side and everything south of Cermak Road from the test area. After paying a one-time membership fee of five dollars, members can drive at about forty cents a minute or buy cheaper timed packages. Reader transportation columnist John Greenfield found that the program was blocked by several South Side aldermen, including Pat Dowell (3rd), Sophia King (4th), and Leslie Hairston (5th), who all expressed worries that it would conflict with limited parking space in their wards. Perhaps they didn’t read about a 2016 UC Berkeley study that found each shared car took off up to eleven private cars from the roads—or didn’t consider that many of their constituents could have used the opportunity to save on transportation costs.

Dirty Schools, Done Dirt Cheap

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has been caught brushing things under the rug again. This time, it was literal dust (among other things) that the district was trying to hide. In response to the discovery of rat droppings at Mollison Elementary School in Bronzeville this past November, city officials ordered health inspections for schools citywide—what they called a “blitz.” The Sun-Times obtained the results from the 125 schools that CPS ended up inspecting, and found that schools were not as spick and span as previous reports may have depicted. Only thirty-four passed, a stark contrast from the ninety-six percent of schools that apparently passed the round of inspections prior to this one.While this discrepancy may be a surprise to some Chicagoans, it’s old news for families with kids enrolled at CPS, as well as their teachers, both of whom have long complained about unsanitary conditions in class and lunchrooms. The overlooked dirtiness has a lot to do with CPS’s dirty practices: tipping off the janitorial staff about when inspections come and even where they’ll look when they do. The janitorial staff, for their part, often don’t receive the cleaning supplies they need until the lead-up to an inspection. Many blame the general disarray of CPS’s custodial services to the various private agencies now contracted to supply (and inspect) those services. Time will tell if CPS and partners will permanently polish up their act in the wake of this cleanliness crisis.

An Ignoble Education

Charter schools have long been a controversial topic in Chicago. While many public school parents, teachers, and advocates blame charters for many of the issues with Chicago Public Schools, those same issues understandably lead some parents to wonder what the other side of high school education has to offer. Noble Charter Schools, the largest charter school network in the city, offers an outlook that’s very severe, as exposed by an NPR Illinois report. The mostly Black and Latinx students in its schools are forced to adhere to a strict dress code that allows for no individuality, and the consequences could mean a white teacher filling in the dyed color of a Black student’s hair with black sharpie just so they can stay in class—and the teacher isn’t penalized. Students who get into fights are arrested and escorted off campus, demerits are given for slouching in your desk, and, in the hallways between class, teachers shout “Hands Up!” to demand that the students move in “complete silence.” It’s not all bleak. Last year, Deshawn Armstrong graduated from Hansberry College Prep, a Noble school in Auburn Gresham, with a 35 ACT score and acceptances to Harvard and Brown. Despite his accomplishments, Armstrong told NPR Illinois he has encouraged relatives and friends not to attend Noble schools because it “felt like a prison.” To Armstrong, it seems that the benefits of a “quality” education weren’t great enough to outweigh the cost of breaking the students’ spirits.

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ChiTech’s ‘Black Panther’ Hackathon

Chicago Tech Academy High School, 1301 W. 14th St. Friday, April 13, 10am–5pm.

What could be better than seeing Black Panther again? A Black Panther-themed hackathon of course! Any sixth, seventh, and eighth graders interested in learning more about tech, coding, or gaming can join ChiTech Academy and Blue1647 for a fun day of project-oriented learning. No prior coding experience is necessary. (Amy Qin)

The Field in Englewood

Kusanya Cafe, 825 W. 69th St. Opening Friday, April 13, 6pm–8pm. Coffee tasting and talk Saturday, April 21, 1pm–3pm. Exhibits through Sunday, April 22. Free. (773) 675-4758.

This week, visit Kusanya Cafe for more than just their great coffee: the café and the Field Museum are collaborating to host The Field in Englewood, a presentation given by Field Museum scientists about the neighborhood’s natural history. If you miss the presentation itself, stop by over the next week to catch the exhibits. (Michael Wasney)

Corridor Convo

Urban Partnership Bank, 7801 S. State St. Saturday, April 14, 10am–noon. Free. Registration strongly suggested. (773) 644-1451.

The Greater Chatham Initiative will showcase the work of seventeen students from the UIC College of Urban Planning and Policy who’ve spent the last three months researching how best to boost commercial corridors in the Greater Chatham area, along 71st, 75th, 79th Streets and Cottage Grove. Come by to hear what they have to say and to share your own opinions. (Michael Wasney)


YCA On The Block: Pilsen

La Catrina Café, 1011 W. 18th St. Friday, April 13, 6pm–8pm. Free.

YCA on the Block: Pilsen is back! Hosted by Young Chicago Authors, this event is a free open mic and workshop series for “fresh” Latinx voices. Come through and learn how to write poems and hear others perform. This week’s feature is VICTOR! (Roderick Sawyer)

Artists’ Talk: A Tender Power—A Black Womanist Visual Manifesto

Rootwork Gallery, 645 W. 18th St. Friday, April 13, 7pm–10pm; gallery open 6pm. Free.

Get to Rootwork an hour early on Friday to check out the gallery’s current exhibition before listening to Kimberly M. Harmon and Tracie D. Hall in conversation about their work in the show, intended to act as “testimony to the redemptive capacity of Black women’s physical, emotional, and spiritual labor and a call for reciprocity.” (Julia Aizuss)

Meg Duguid: Parade for a Nuclear Bomb

boundary, 2334 W. 111th Pl. Saturday, April 14, 1pm–3pm. (773) 316-0562.

In 2012, local artist Meg Duguid received the rights to use a script originally written by James Agee about Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp character; now, as part of her exhibition for boundary, Duguid is preparing multiple events whose documentation will be used in The Tramp Project. This parade—which intends to use the boundary gallery to enact “a scene in which a town excitedly prepares for the launch of an earth-destroying bomb”—is one of those events. (Julia Aizuss)

8A5E OS Series: VR Night

8A5E, 1200 W 35th Street.  Friday, April 20, 7pm–midnight. Free.

Experience virtual reality at the 8A5E cafe/hybrid space. Featuring a demo of the VR experience with Akaxe Gomez & Boyu Li, live painting from Rahmaan Statik, Cujo Dah, Jasmina Cazacu aka Diosa, and Kawaii Sugar, and more. All are welcome. (Roderick Sawyer)

Poets for Puerto Rico: Chicago

Roberto Clemente Community Academy, 1147 N. Western Avenue. Tuesday, April 17, 6pm–9pm. $10 donation suggested, but no one will be turned away.

Join the Poets for Puerto Rico to raise awareness and raise funds for the Institute for Socio-Ecological Research (ISER). ISER is a group working to restore community resources in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. In honor of your support, more than twenty poets and artists will be reading poems and engaging in discussion with the audience. (Roderick Sawyer)


Rear View Mirror Sessions: Leon Ware

Arts + Public Life, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. Thursday, April 12, 6pm–9pm. Free, RSVP at (773) 702-9724.

Some producers set up mics and press “record”––but Leon Ware, as they say, played the studio. Music historian and “Custodian of the Indie Soul Movement” Duane Powell will lecture on Ware, who cut landmark records by Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson before his death last year. (Christopher Good)

Bridgeport’s Over!

Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St. April 13–14, 7pm–midnight. $10/day, $15 for weekend. All ages with parent. (773) 823-9700.

This weekend, the Co-Prosperity Sphere is hosting a two-day music festival to benefit its in-house radio station, Lumpen Radio. In addition to acts like Dogs at Large, Myrcenes, and Color Card, there will be an art exhibit and food vendors, including Princess Pierogies. (Adam Przybyl)

The Real Jamaican Ska Experience

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Saturday, April 14, doors 7pm. 17+. $25–$30. (312) 949-0120.

No one’s quite sure where the term “ska” comes from––but this weekend, you’ll have the chance to see where some of the genre’s greatest songs came from. Two Legends & A Son, comprising former members of the Skatalites and the son of Prince Buster, will play some deep cuts with the Chicago Jamaican Jazz Ensemble and DJ Chuck Wren of Jump Up Records. (Christopher Good)


Digital Art Demo Space, 2515 S. Archer Ave. Saturday, April 14, 7pm–midnight. $7 before 9pm, $12 after. Streaming live at (312) 451-2962.

If you’ve been on the concert circuit, you’ve probably seen your fair share of DJs––but at #bitxbit, the South Side’s premier chiptune series, DADS ups the ante with live music and VJs (video jockeys). This round will feature Floor Baba, Pulsing, and Chicago’s own Cherry Cherry Bomb. (Christopher Good)

Free CSO Chamber Concert: Beethoven & Smetana

Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave. Sunday, April 15, 3pm. Free with RSVP at (312) 294-3000.

For the latest installation of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s All Access series, the Kittel Quartet will perform two works in Kenwood. The first, Beethoven’s Op. 18 No. 3, is already a crowd-pleaser. But the second, Smetana’s String Quartet No. 1, could be your new favorite. (Christopher Good)


Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie)

Yollocalli Arts Reach, 2801 S. Ridgeway Ave. Friday, April 13, 5:30pm. Free.

This film, a 2015 documentary about undocumented youth activist Angy Rivera, is the third in South Side Projections’ series examining the lives of undocumented immigrants. A post-screening discussion led by Elizabeth Lozano, media studies professor at Loyola and Stephanie Manriquez, a writer who teaches at Yollocalli, will follow. (Nicole Bond)

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Through 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)

Spotlight Reading Series: Puddin ‘N Pete

AKArama Community Service Center, 6228 S. Ingleside Ave. Monday, April 16, 6:30pm. Free, but tickets recommended. (773) 702-7005.

Aspirational executive secretary Puddin, who deeply distrusts men, and uneducated high school janitor Pete, who is wise beyond his book learning, discover what they have in common in the latest installment of Court’s reading series that highlights underrepresented writers of color. Find out if the unlikely couple can put their bad experiences and failed marriages behind them. (Joseph S. Pete)

Jackie Taylor Drama Series

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. April 7–22; Saturdays, 3pm and 8pm; Sundays, 3pm. $35. (773) 769-4451.

Three dramatic plays, all relevant to current events, will be presented at the DuSable throughout April. Each play was written during Black Ensemble Theater’s Black Playwrights Initiative, an educational incubator for aspiring playwrights. The series opens with National Anthem by Ervin Gardner the first weekend, followed by Reginald Williams’s The Plea, and closes the third weekend with In The Shadow of Justice, by L. Maceo Ferris. A discussion led by the actors about the topics explored in each play will follow every performance.(Nicole Bond)

Double Feature: Chelsea Williams and Keenan Dailey

Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, 1456 E. 70th S. Friday, April 20, 7pm–9pm. Free. (312) 857-5561.

Students get the spotlight at this Black Cinema House screening, which features the short work of NYU student Chelsea Williams and UIUC student Keenan Dailey. Williams’s “Wake Up: A Dope Short” is drawn from an ongoing video project, and Dailey will be at the screening to discuss “Greene,” about a young Black gallery owner. (Julia Aizuss)

Comfort Stew

eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Friday, April 20–Sunday, May 20. Friday through Sunday, 8pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 3pm; Sundays. $15–$35. (773) 752-3955.

Playwright and poet Angela Jackson weaves a tale of a missing child ripped straight from the headlines. Her play, directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce, concerns how parents love their children in an evening of “memory and hope” and the “actions of the spirit.” (Joseph S. Pete)

Hyde Community Players General Meeting

57th Street Friends Quaker House, 5615 S. Woodlawn Ave. Wednesday, April 25, 6:30pm.

If you have been interested in getting involved with Hyde Park Community Players, this public general meeting is for you. They usually play some theater games, then get busy planning for future productions of the 2017–18 season. Current members would also do well to attend this meeting—the Players will be electing next year’s board members. (Nicole Bond)


61st Street Market Day

Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. Saturday, April 14, 9am–2pm. (773) 241-6044.

Ah, springtime in Chicago: when farmers and gardeners have begun sowing seeds and  bulbs are blooming even as it’s still snowing. Fortunately, the folks at the 61st Street Market know better than to move the market outdoors until May. Swing by for veggie burgers, produce, coffee, cheese, meats, baked goods, and the South Side diabetes table—and, as always, the market will match your LINK purchase up to $25. (Emeline Posner)

Dishing on the Farm Bill

The Plant, 1400 W. 46th St. Saturday, April 14, 2pm–4:30pm. Free. (217) 528-1563.

What’s the deal with the 2018 Farm Bill? The Plant is hosting Liz Moran Stelk, Executive Director of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, who will give a presentation that will walk you through the most important provisions and help to demystify the complex bill. Complimentary local treats and refreshments will be offered after the presentation, and there will be the opportunity to write letters to your representatives. (Emeline Posner)

Play Garden Planting Day

McKinley Park Play Garden, 3518-28 S. Wolcott Ave. Sunday, April 15, 9am–1pm. Free.

It’s time for the first planting phase at McKinley Park Play Garden, just south of the McKinley Park Library, and the organizers are eager for volunteers—especially high-schoolers who need community service hours. Bring gloves if you have them! The organizers will have necessary tools and a free lunch on hand, as well as more information about the garden’s official opening in June. (Emeline Posner)

Book Talk: Draining the Central Area of Chicago and Exorcising Clout

Chicago Maritime Museum, 1200 W. 35th St. Friday, April 20, 7pm–10pm. $5 for members, $10 for non-members. (773) 376-1982.

Richard Lanyon, former executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, will discuss his latest book, West by Southwest to Stickney: Draining the Central Area of Chicago and Exorcising Clout. He’ll go over how the city “eliminated the stagnant, encrusted cesspool that was Bubble Creek” as it drained the South and West sides. (Joseph S. Pete)

Planting the Seeds of Curiosity: A STEM Make-a-thon on Botany

The Blue Lacuna, 2150 S. Canalport Ave. Saturday, April 21, 10am–12pm. For kids ages 3 through 7. $25, parents free. (312) 778-6374.

A workshop dedicated to growing young green thumbs, this STEM Make-a-thon will be taught the essentials of “how plants work.” Kids will go home with a signed storybook, Paige & Paxton Go Green, about kids who get their hands dirty, and their very own seedling. (Emeline Posner)

Dismantling Racism in the Food System Leadership Training

Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St. May 4-5. Friday, 9am–6pm, and Saturday, 8:30am–6pm. $200. Scholarship applications available upon request at (773) 376-8882.

Are you an urban farmer, community leader, or worker in the food chain? Urban Growers Collective (UGC) is hosting a two-day workshop designed to help attendees understand the many levels on which racism and privilege manifest and to foster discussion about sustainable agriculture as a means of empowering low-income communities and communities of color. All meals will be provided by UGC. For childcare, please send an email to the address listed above. (Emeline Posner)

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