Notes & Calendar 4/19/17

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


“South Shore’s Most Prolific Evictor”

The Reader has dubbed South Shore the “eviction capital” of Chicago—and rightly so. According to an investigation by Maya Dukmasova, published on Monday, South Shore’s zip code saw eight times as many evictions last year as the citywide average. South Shore’s housing market is disproportionately dominated by rentals, making it especially vulnerable to a high eviction rate. But that’s not the only factor—in South Shore, rents are on the rise, while nearly two-thirds of residents have to spend more than thirty percent of their monthly income on rent. Furthermore, upcoming projects like the Obama library and the Tiger Woods golf course in nearby Jackson Park make South Shore a target for developers with scant concern for existing residents.

South Shore’s most prolific evictor is Pangea Properties, which, as its name might suggest, appears to be making a bid to “[buy] up the South Side,” one lawyer says—acquiring, renovating, and renting properties at a rapid-fire rate. Pangea, whose investors include Governor Bruce Rauner, filed to evict tenants in one out of every eight properties it owns; the company filed over 1,000 cases in Chicagoland last year, and it owns 8,000 units. It’s a chilling vision—a “rehabbed” South Shore, devoid of its long-term residents, and subject to the home and community instabilities that absence is proven to invite.

CHA Update: PBS Edition

In January, the Weekly published an investigation into the CHA’s failure to redevelop public housing in Bronzeville after demolishing much of it in the early 2000s. The investigation found that the CHA is nearly a decade behind its timeline for the Plan for Transformation, which promised the construction or renovation of 25,000 units of housing. Last week, the Weekly published an update to this investigation, reviewing the CHA’s 2016 annual report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and its 2017 plan. The update found that by the end of this year, two years will have passed since there was new redevelopment construction on the State Street Corridor. On April 12, the same day this update was published, CHA CEO Eugene Jones appeared on Chicago Tonight to discuss the overdue Plan for Transformation and, apparently, to celebrate his upcoming two-year anniversary on the job. Said celebration started off with a sentiment with which the Weekly can sympathize: “I can’t understand why it didn’t happen,” said Jones, whose time at the CHA overlaps little with the sordid history of the Plan for Transformation.

He went on, however, to more puzzling statements: though so far behind on the Plan by 1,874 units, Jones seemed optimistic about reaching the 25,000-unit mark, saying “by the end of this year we will’ve reached that plateau.” Regardless of the fact that the CHA’s 2017 plan only calls for 1,596 units, to be delivered this year through redevelopment, acquisition, and project-based vouchers, Jones said by 2018 to 2019, “We’re not going to be doing 25,000 [anymore], we’re going to be doing something that is representative of building back great neighborhoods in this city.” A little later: “Well, we’re helping people now.” A little later, again: by the end of this year, rather than the notorious hundreds of millions of dollars in liquid reserves, “we’ll have zero”—not counting the “about $110 million” the CHA is required to have as three months of operating reserve. (The Weekly investigation noted this number is $117 million and terms it not required but “HUD-allowed.”) At one point, Jones says, “I think by now, the year 2017, we’ve seen what’s been working.” It remains to be seen what Jones has seen.



ChiTeen Lit Fest

Harold Washington Library Center, 401 S. Plymouth Ct. Friday, April 21, 6pm–10pm; and Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., Saturday, April 22, 10am–6:30pm. Free. Register at

Join us at the ChiTeen Lit Fest created for teens, by teens, and featuring guest headliners such as Nate Marshall and Tara Mahadevan. Friday night there will be a kickoff party with food, music, dancing, and performances, and on Saturday, meet other like-minded teens and engage in featured programs and workshops. (Roderick Sawyer)

Dominic Pacyga’s Slaughterhouse

Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St. Friday, April 21, 7pm–10pm. Free. (773) 376-1982.

The Chicago Maritime Museum—located inside of the Bridgeport Art Center—will host Chicago historian Dominic Pacyga to speak about his 2015 book, Slaughterhouse. If the event’s lack of admission fee weren’t encouragement enough, other galleries sharing the Bridgeport Art Center space will be open to the public as well. (Michael Wasney)

National Vegetarian Museum

Avalon Library, 8148 S. Stony Island Ave. Saturday, April 22, 10am–noon.

Vegan and Cook County Department of Public Health Chief Operating Officer Dr. Terry Mason will give a lecture entitled “Why Veganism?” at the National Vegetarian Museum exhibit, which has been traveling Chicagoland since February. Attendees can learn about vegetarianism’s roots, pardon the pun, as well as what it’s blossoming into. Most importantly, there will be (vegan, one presumes) snacks. (Joseph S. Pete)

Prom Party with a Purpose

Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine Ave. Saturday, April 22, 10am–3pm. (312) 747-6722.

The Domestic Violence Subcommittee of the Englewood Police District is hosting their annual charity event to provide free formal attire for teenagers going to prom. The committee collected donations of shoes, accessories, and formal clothing from the community. This event aims to help give every teenager the opportunity to enjoy a classic rite of passage in high school. (Mira Chauhan)

Advocacy Training South Side

Metropolitan Community Church, 4610 S. Prairie Ave. Thursday, April 20, 6:30pm–8:30pm. (312) 427-4830. Register at

Join the Community Renewal Society as they prepare for their Day of Faith at the Capitol, where South Side residents will take their concerns straight to Springfield. This training will brief participants on the legislation facing elected officials this year, and will teach participants how to set up and run meetings with them. (Adia Robinson)


Homer to Vonnegut: A Print Odyssey (Part 1)

Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. Thursday, April 20, 5:30pm–7:30pm. Free. RSVP online. (773) 702-0200.

The Smart Museum and National Veterans Art Museum team up for a two-part program about returning home from war to civilian life throughout the ages. Visitors get a tour, lecture, and printmaking workshop about soldiers’ transition home. (Joseph S. Pete)

Start: Gallery Opening Reception

Start: Gallery, 1520 S. Harper Ct. Thursday, April 20, 6pm–8pm. Free. Reserve a seat by emailing

The new Hyde Park-based Start: Gallery hosts the opening reception for a new exhibit, featuring the work of three local artists who explore what it means to develop a “signature style” outside of academic contexts. A conversation with the artists will take place May 5. (Hafsa Razi)

El Carrito

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Friday, April 21, 1pm–3pm. Free. (312) 738–1503.

Discover and engage with artist William Estrada’s handmade mobile street art cart. This is one of a series of programs as a part of the Memoria Presente: An Artistic Journey exhibition, featuring artists working in the Chicago area. The exhibition will continue through August 13. (Mira Chauhan)


Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Friday, April 21, 4pm–6pm. Free. (773) 324-5520.

Hyde Park Art Center continues its PUBLIC SCHOOL exhibition on art and instruction with an open house. Come for an exploration of the PUBLIC SCHOOL space, a discussion with Brazilian artist and educator Bianca Bernardo, and a hands-on workshop led by carpentry collective Project Fielding on building political resistance—literally. (Hafsa Razi)

A Craft Affair: Mother’s Day Edition

Lacuna Artist Lofts, 2150 S. Canalport Ave. Sunday, April 23, noon–5pm. Free. RSVP at

A combination of twenty businesses and independent artists will have stations at the craft fair on Saturday to display their creations. While live music plays throughout the afternoon. Lacuna Artists Lofts will also be letting people tour the five-floor building, which features a variety of new murals and curated spaces. (Mira Chauhan)

Lesley Jackson: Walking with Rilke

4th Ward Project Space, 5338 S. Kimbark Ave. Saturdays, 1pm–5pm, through Saturday, May 6, or by appointment. Free. (773) 203-2991.

Multimedia artist Lesley Jackson uses objects like gathered leaves, a rubber band, and tree bark to evoke the “romantic struggle with mortality” of the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke at this month-long exhibition in Hyde Park. (Jake Bittle)


Elephant Room Gallery, 704 S. Wabash Ave. Saturdays, 11am–5pm, through April 29, or by appointment. (312) 361-0281.

This solo exhibition by artist BURN353, a graffiti and mixed media artist from downstate Illinois, looks back on a childhood spent spray-painting freight trains and watching hip-hop films, and showcases pieces from his extensive painting and design work. (Jake Bittle)

Closing Reception: Aspects of the Whole

Studio Oh!, 1837 S. Halsted St. Through April 27. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 1pm–6pm, or by appointment. Free. (773) 474-1070.

“Aspects of the Whole,” curated by Studio Oh!’s Lisa Stefaniak, uses grid patterns to cut through and segment the work of four photographers and artists (Adam Lofbomm, Otto Rascon, Robert Tolchin, and Stefaniak herself), breaking down images and putting them back together in strange and captivating ways. (Hafsa Razi)

Intercessions: Art as Intervention and Prayer

Rootwork Gallery, 645 W. 18th St. Through May 21; see website for performance schedule. (917) 821-3050.

“Intercessions” brings together visual and performance art to contemplate “the body and the spirit; the sacred and the profane.” The opening reception features the work of painter, sculptor, and performance artist Maya Amina, as well as percussion and mixed media artist Xristian Espinoza. (Hafsa Razi)


Maxo Kream

Reggies Rock Club, 2105 S State St. Thursday, April 20, 6:30pm. $15-$20. (312) 949-0120.

Maxo has been hitting the rap game hard with icy, confrontational lyrics and a steadfast commitment to street narrative. Come check out the Houston native live at Reggies and enjoy one of the best Texas has to offer. (Roderick Sawyer)

Bob Mould & Allen Epley

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Friday, April 21. Doors 7pm, show 8pm. $36-$56. 17+. (312) 526-3851.

Indie rock veteran Bob Mould brings his latest album, Patch the Sky, to Thalia Hall—and, he says, it’s the “darkest one” yet. He’s joined by Allen Epley, of The Life and Times and the Chicago BlueManGroup. (Hafsa Razi)

Incantations Dance Party: Black & Brown Babes/Sunset Society

Archive House, 6918 S. Dorchester Ave. Friday, April 21, 6:30pm–10pm. Free. (312) 857-5561.

Come dance with some “Black & Brown Babes” at this monthly dance party “residency” for people of color at the Stony Island Arts Bank’s Archive House. Featuring the music of local artists and DJs, curated by DJ Duane Powell and Coultrain. (Hafsa Razi)

Hip to the Vibe

The Dojo (message on Facebook for address). Saturday, April 22, 7 pm–1am. $5 donation.

Check out an eclectic cadre of artists and musicians at Hip to the Vibe this weekend, and presumably you’ll be just that. The Dojo will be featuring artists (Steef, Calie Ramone, Eva Azenaro Acero) and musicians (Chessmasters, Fury, BLXCK, Malci, Mykele Deville, a DJ set by Sasha NoDis-co). The gallery will open at 7pm, with music starting at 8pm. (Mira Chauhan)


Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series: This is the Life

Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. Wednesday, April 26, 6:30pm–9:30pm. RSVP online. Free. (312) 857-5561.

Place Lab and Black Cinema House’s year-long film series continues with Ava DuVernay’s 2008 documentary on the Good Life hip-hop scene in South Central LA, a group of collectives that included DuVernay herself. “It was perfect,” recalls one artist in the film—to dig deeper, a discussion will follow with Tayyib Smith, founder of the Institute of Hip-Hop Entrepreneurship, and music journalist Briahna Gatlin. (Julia Aizuss.)

Karaoke for Kidneys

Mercy Hospital, 2525 S. Michigan Ave. Saturday, April 29, 4pm–10pm. $50 suggested donation.

Darvece Monson—who founded the 501(c)(3) More Than Your Kidneys—is partnering with Mercy Hospital to host Karaoke for Kidneys, the first of what will hopefully be an annual event, commemorating the legacy of Takiya Holmes. After being killed by a stray bullet in February at the age of eleven, Holmes’s organs were donated to six people, including one kidney to her cousin, Monson. Proceeds will go to supporting patients and family members affected by CKD/ESRD/dialysis/kidney transplantation. (Michael Wasney)

2017 Crystal Ball Fundraiser

Chicago Art Department, 1932 S. Halsted. Saturday, May 13, 7pm–11pm. $25-$1000. (312) 725-4223.

Plan ahead to spend part of Mother’s Day weekend immersed in art, performance, and workshops, celebrating motherhood and feminine identity, as part of the CAD’s second annual Crystal Ball Fundraiser, which is expected to sell out quickly. This year’s honoree is visual artist Amanda Williams, who hails from Auburn Gresham. (Nicole Bond)

Never the Milk & Honey

The Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Friday, April 14–Sunday, May 28. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays, 3pm. $21-$37. (773) 609-4714.

It is written that there is a land of milk and honey, promised as respite for the faithful when the world ends. Explore what happens as covenants and faith are broken when the world doesn’t end as expected, in Joseph Jefferson Award winner Shepsu Aakhu’s newest play, directed by South Shore native Carla Stillwell. (Nicole Bond)

An Evening with Dick Gregory

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Sunday, April 23. Doors 6:30pm, show 7:30pm. $20–$60. (312) 801-2100.

Dick Gregory is such a legend that little needs to be said. Over his half-century career, he’s been a bestselling author, a television star, a civil rights activist, an official enemy of Nixon, and one of Comedy Central’s Top 100 Stand-Up Comedians of All Time. Dedry Jones of the Music Experience hosts Gregory, who’s been one of the most outspoken critics of discrimination since he ascended to the national stage in the 1960s. (Joseph S. Pete)

A Poet, A Novelist, and An Essayist Walk into a Bar

Lagunitas Brewing Company, 2607 W. 17th St. Monday, April 24, 6pm–8:30pm. Limited student tickets $15, otherwise $45. 21+.

Poet Nate Marshall, novelist Christine Sneed, and essayist Barrie Jean Borich read original works all including the word “beer,” in keeping with the brewery theme, at the Guild Literary Complex Annual Benefit. Food, a cash bar, a photo booth, and a literary trivia station are among the offerings. (Nicole Bond)

NAJWA Dance Corps: Masks

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Saturday, April 29, 7pm–9:30pm. $15-$25. (773) 727-1773.

African dance and ceremonial masks combine in Najwa’s annual spring concert showcasing the dynamics of masks and maskmaking through the ages, whether as cultural ritual or as a retreat from personal truths. (Nicole Bond)

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