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


How Low Can You Go?

Justin Breen, DNAinfo’s inveterate reporter on Chicago’s topographical extremes and author of a 2015 article on “Chicago’s Tallest Hill, a ‘Mountain of Garbage,’” wrote recently about the “lowest inhabitable point” in the city of Chicago, which, like the city’s tallest hill, is on the South Side. The lowest pump room in the Calumet TARP Pumping Station, owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, is 365 feet below the surface. The pumping station is located on 130th Street in Riverdale, just north of the Altgeld Gardens community. It’s connected to a network of deep water tunnels that stretch across the South Side and also to the Thornton Reservoir in the south suburbs. If for some reason you want to see this pump room for yourself, the Water Reclamation District offers tours—you just have to sign a waiver.

Department of Justice Threatens Budget Cuts for “Sanctuary” Chicago

Last Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to enforce one of the Trump administration’s recent executive orders, which stated that so-called sanctuary cities—those cities that generally don’t cooperate with immigration officials’ requests to detain or hand over undocumented immigrants—would stand to lose funding from the Department of Justice. A few days ago, City Hall announced that the possible funding cuts for Chicago, as one of those sanctuary cities, could amount to about $13 million, spread evenly over three different DOJ grants. It’s important to note that those cuts aren’t yet actual: Rahm Emanuel predicted in November that Trump would not ultimately cut funding to sanctuary cities, “because they have bigger fish to fry, mark my words.” But there has been a renewed, worrying flurry of publicity around the issue recently. On top of Sessions’s announcement, Sean Spicer—Trump’s gum-swallowing, grammatically addled press secretary—suggested last week that Chicago shouldn’t receive federal funding when illegal immigrants are responsible for a substantial portion of the city’s violent crime. “You can’t be a sanctuary city and at the same time seem to pretend or express concern about law enforcement or ask for more money when probably a number of the funds that you’re using in the first place are going to law enforcement to handle the situation that you’ve created for yourself,” he said. As Lynn Sweet pointed out in the Sun-Times on Monday, Spicer’s argument is wholly unjustified: there is no evidence showing that Chicago’s activity as a sanctuary city is connected to its crime rate. And if the grants, which are used for a variety of different law enforcement activities, are eventually axed, expect legal action: Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel, the City’s top lawyer, called Trump’s original executive order “an unconstitutional attempt to force municipal police departments to aid in the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

Chance the Rapper the Mayor?

On Friday, March 31, at Paul Robeson High School, Chance the Rapper announced the creation of the New Chance Arts and Literature Fund, which will partner with local organization Ingenuity Inc. to identify and donate to CPS schools that lack arts programs. Last month, Chance announced a personal donation of $1 million to CPS, along with donations from his Social Works initiative to ten individual schools that would directly receive $10,000 each. In the month since his first announcement, Chance’s fund has accumulated $1.2 million more in donations, including $1 million from the Chicago Bulls. Twelve additional schools will also receive $10,000 directly from Social Works. Chance’s philanthropic efforts followed an unsuccessful meeting with Governor Bruce Rauner, in which Chance urged the governor to end the budget crisis engulfing CPS. Ever since, the hashtag #ChanoForMayor has been circulating widely on Twitter. The past week has even seen the creation of a Twitter bot, @chano4mayor2k19, and the website Chano4Mayor.com, interlaced with Chance lyrics, cartoon depictions of him, and a heartfelt call to action for Chance to run in 2019. “We think if you ran, you would win,” it reads. “And if you won, you would do a good ass job.” The website and Twitter bot were created in part by former Weekly editor-in-chief Bea Malsky and former Weekly staffer Jean Cochrane; we particularly recommend a read to the website’s end, where you can find information about voting rights and registration.



The Black Women’s Expo

McCormick Place, 2301 S. King Dr. April 7–April 9. Friday–Saturday, 10am–7pm; Sunday, 10 am–6pm. Prices vary for different events; free–$100. (312) 454-6100. theblackwomensexpo.com

Celebrate the aspirations and achievements of Black women at the twenty-third annual Black Women’s Expo. This three-day-long event will highlight small business and feature numerous speakers, celebrity guests, live performances, and seminars on topics ranging from Black love to business skills to discussions on health and beauty. (Adia Robinson)

Bronzeville Walk of Fame Walking Tour

Tour begins at 35th St. and King Dr. Saturday, April 8, 1pm–3pm. $15. Tickets at bit.ly/bronzevilletour.

Focusing on Bronzeville’s unparalleled public art presence, this walking tour will proceed down King Drive in search of murals and other works integral to the community. The tour will be led by Bernard Turner, a prolific expert on Chicago history. (Sarah Fineman)

Let’s Take Action in Englewood Together

R.A.G.E. Office, 6620 S. Union Ave., ste. 2. Saturday, April 8, 11:30am–1pm. Free. (866) 845-1032. ragenglewood.org

The Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) invites residents of Englewood to learn more about R.A.G.E. initiatives at their Open House and New Member Orientation. Enjoy light refreshments while learning about ways to take action in the community. (Adia Robinson)

Queendom Recharge

The Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd St. Tuesday, April 11, 6pm–8pm. $7. Tickets at bit.ly/rechargequeen.

Every full moon, Nicolia “FLYKelly” Kelly hosts an evening dedicated to bringing women together in community and mutual healing. April’s event, to be led by Rashida Khan Bey, will include relaxation and empowerment activities from yoga to coloring. (Sarah Fineman)


Lesley Jackson: Walking with Rilke

4th Ward Project Space, 5338 S. Kimbark Ave. Opening reception Sunday, April 9, 4pm–7pm. Saturdays, 1pm–5pm, through Saturday, May 6, or by appointment. Free. (773) 203-2991. 4wps.org

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. Opening reception Saturday, April 8, 6pm–9pm. Saturdays, 11am–5pm, through April 29, or by appointment. (312) 361-0281. elephantroomgallery.com

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)

Ghost Pattern Waves

Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St. Opening reception Friday, April 7, 5pm–8pm. On view through Saturday, April 8, with performances Tuesday, April 4, 11am; Wednesday, April 5, Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, noon. (312) 996-6114. gallery400.uic.edu

This thesis exhibition by three MFA candidates at UIC will feature performance art with an interactive apparatus, new media art “drawing from a fascination with amusement park rides and magic tricks,” and painting that explores “place, memory, and the natural world.” (Jake Bittle)

As a Shadow Before the Law

Ballroom Projects, 3012 S. Archer Ave, #3. Opening reception Saturday, April 8, 7pm–10pm. Through April 28. (312) 972-5691. facebook.com/ballroomprojects

This Bridgeport exhibition featuring two Chicago-based artists, Josh Rios and Anthony Romero, will show how “injustices of distribution and injustices of recognition” are “interrelated and inseparable.” The abstract event description promises an exploration of how we experience “symbolic and material alienation…within one’s own land.” (Jake Bittle)


Greg Murphy

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W. Wednesday, April 5. 6pm doors, 7pm show. $20. (312) 801-2100. promontorychicago.com

Legendary pianist and composer Greg Murphy returns to Chicago this week to perform at the Promontory. Murphy’s music, which blurs the lines between Afro-Cuban music, pop, and jazz, will be accompanied by a performance from the award-winning Ray Blue Quartet, which will offer a similar mixture of jazz and African groove. (Adia Robinson)

Margo Price

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St., Friday, April 7, 8pm. $20–$35. This event is sold out, but visit website by noon April 5 to enter for two free tickets. (312) 526-3851. thaliahallchicago.com

This poetic country songstress mixes vulnerability and resilience, more reminiscent of Loretta and Dolly than current Music Row chart-toppers, on her debut album—perhaps in hopes of soothing listeners through their hardships and heartaches, as music did for her during her early adult years. (Nicole Bond)

Centennial Brooks with Nicole Mitchell and Jamila Woods

Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Saturday, April 8, 7:30pm–9:30pm. Free. voices.uchicago.edu/brooks100

Flutist Nicole Mitchell has composed “Gwendolyn Brooks: New Art and Anthem,” combining the creative forces of music and poetry to honor the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble will present the work to conclude the UofC’s Centennial Brooks festival. A performance by musician and poet Jamila Woods will follow. (Sarah Fineman)


Vine Culture

If you enjoyed the Weekly’s piece on 57th Street Wines in January, explore the shop further by viewing this short-film interview with 57th Street Wines sommelier Derrick Westbrook. FeelSoReel director Reginald J. Rice pairs crisp and filtered shots with a mellow musical score by Manesey to pour the true notes of a conscientious sommelier. (Nicole Bond)

Centennial Brooks: Opening Night

DuSable Museum of African-American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Thursday, April 6, 7pm. Free. (773) 947-0600. voices.uchicago.edu/brooks100

Come to the opening night of Centennial Brooks, a three-day celebration put on by the UofC and DuSable in honor of the once longtime Poet Laureate of Illinois, Gwendolyn Brooks. The poets Sonia Sanchez, Haki Madhubuti, and Angela Jackson will read, followed by a reception including Nora Brooks Blakeley, Brooks’s daughter. The celebration will continue the rest of the weekend with scholarly panels, readings, and music. (Michael Wasney)

Neo-Futurists: Process Workshop Performance

Mana Contemporary Chicago, 2233 S. Throop Street. Saturday, April 8, 1pm. Free. (312) 850-0555. highconceptlaboratories.org

Members of the experimental theater company The Neo-Futurists led a two-month-long class on their artistic process at High Concept Labs—you can see what they learned this Saturday, when they showcase the short plays produced by the workshop students. (Michael Wasney)

Beyond Caring

Lookingglass Theatre, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. Through May 7. Wednesdays through Sundays, 7:30pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 2pm. General admission $55-$65. (312) 337-0665. lookingglasstheatre.org

Writer-director Alexander Zeldin and Dark Harbor Stories have reimagined for Chicago the acclaimed British play The Guardian, about unseen minimum wage temp workers on the fringes of society, fighting just to scrape by. Beyond Caring shines a spotlight on the hardship people endure in the grinding shadow economy. (Joseph S. Pete)

Chicago Home Theater Festival with Nikki Zaleski and the Illinois Caucus on Adolescent Health

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Sunday, April 9, 1pm–3pm. (773) 324-5520. hydeparkart.org

Director/playwright Nikki Zaleski, ICAH, and Chicago Home Theater Festival team up with a variety of organizations such as City Bureau and the Chicago Park District for this interactive workshop, which will use the principles of Pleasure, Pretend, Practice, and Power to create Neighborhood Field Guides on reproductive histories. By participating, you will contribute to ICAH’s mission of educating and organizing for reproductive justice for Illinois youth. (Nicole Bond)

Afro-Pop Series: Intore

Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. Friday, April 7, 7pm–9pm. Free. (312) 857-5561. rebuild-foundation.org

Filmmaker Eric Kabera combines traditional Rwandan music and dance with moving interviews of those involved in and affected by the country’s genocide, Rwandan leaders, upcoming artists, and more to show how they have recovered from a tragic past by regaining—as well as renewing—an identity. A discussion with Black Cinema House curator Jacqueline Najuma Stewart follows the film. (Nicole Bond)

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