Notes & Calendar 5/10/17

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


A “Transformational” Plan

On Wednesday, at the South Shore Cultural Center, where they got married twenty-five years ago, Barack and Michelle Obama revealed the design of the planned Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park. Not just a single building but a campus, the presidential center has a museum, a forum, a library, and even a proposed athletic center and CPL branch, according to the renderings portrayed with a gentle watercolor style. However, the changes brought to the adjacent neighborhoods may not be as gentle. According to Obama, this is a “transformational” plan, and it is in his intention to upgrade Jackson Park so that “when you drive through the park,” it will no longer “feel different than Lincoln Park does.” Along with the promise of “transformation” comes fears of gentrification, if not a new round of dislocation. Although Obama has promised to employ local residents, and has formed an Inclusion Council of leaders from civic and corporate groups, no binding mechanism is at work to ensure as much—namely the Community Benefits Agreement so many groups are agitating for. Now more than ever, Barack, people love you, but they also need more than just promises.

Alderman Lopez Threatened

After eleven people were shot on one city block in Back of the Yards last weekend, in what police describe as a gang retaliation shooting and the city’s worst mass shooting in years, rookie Alderman Raymond Lopez made a statement to the effect that “no innocent lives were lost” in the mass shooting. Lopez, whose 15th Ward covers a baffling, gerrymandered splatter of corners of Gage Park, West Englewood, Brighton Park, and Back of the Yards, was echoed online by commentators dismissing, or even celebrating, the deaths of alleged gang members. Potentially as a result of his comments, Lopez has now entered CPD protective guard after local gang members made credible threats against him. We don’t question Lopez’s motives in so harshly condemning gun violence, but as ward resident and occasional Weekly contributor Naomi Ezquivel tweeted, “There are no easy answers to any of these issues. But ‘just let them kill each other’ is at the bottom of the barrel of shitty responses.”

Ebony Takes LA

Last week, the executives behind Ebony Magazine, the historic black-owned lifestyle magazine founded in 1945 by John Johnson, announced that it will be moving to Los Angeles. After seventy years, neither of Johnson Publishing’s flagship publications will be produced out of Chicago (Jet magazine had already moved to LA). Ebony is not the only major publication to abandon Chicago in recent years—Playboy Magazine also left the city for LA in 2012. In addition to the relocation, the magazine has fired a third of its staff, including its editor-in-chief and managing editor. This raising the question of just who will be writing the magazine’s articles. Especially given its recent, well-publicized difficulty with paying its freelance writers on time—or at all. CVG Group, the Austin, Tex.-based investment company that now owns Ebony and Jet, promises to pay its freelancers the money it owes them. According to DNAinfo and the Tribune, CVG Group chalks up the late payments to confusion with its purchase of Ebony Media Group. Ebony’s recent payment and subscription troubles aside, Chicago will feel its absence.



People United for Action Power Event

The Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd St. Saturday, May 13, 12pm–2pm. (773) 947-0024.

Join People United for Action (PUA) for an event featuring Barbara Ransby, a political activist, writer, and historian. This event will rally for impacting the electoral and policy-making process through mobilizing under-represented and low-income families—as PUA puts it, the time for political leadership of this kind is “inescapable.” (Roderick Sawyer)

Mothers in Business

West Pullman Library, 830 W. 119 St. Saturday, May 13, 11:30am–1:30pm. Free.

Are you a mother who has a great business idea, but no idea where to start? Then this short course is for you! The one-day course will run through the basics of business management and help you begin your journey toward self-employment. (Bridget Newsham)

Chicago Food Policy Summit 2017

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr. Thursday, May 11, 9am–4pm, after hour social 5:30pm–7pm. Free, donations welcome. Register online or from 9am–10am at the event.

The Chicago Food Policy Action Council’s twelfth annual summit on the future of the food economy will focus this year on implementing the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP), an initiative developed to guide cities toward locally sourced, environmentally sustainable food. The program will begin at 10am with community leaders sharing examples of food-focused projects and programs that support their communities, followed by smaller focus groups that will cover the GFPP, urban agriculture licensing, and community land access and control. (Adam Przybyl)

Spring into Action

The Annex at New Life Covenant Church Southeast, 7757 S. Greenwood Ave. Saturday, May 13, 1pm–3pm. (773) 285-1731.

In this interactive event, counseling services at New Life Covenant Southeast hopes to break some of the stigma around mental health. This workshop will teach participants how to distinguish between mental illnesses and mental health issues, and help participants develop the tools needed for long term mental wellness. Bring plenty of questions! (Adia Robinson)

“Raise the Barn” May Crop Mob

Earl’s Garden Mae’s Kitchen, 6914 S. Perry Ave. Saturday, May 13, 10am–1pm.

Advocates for Urban Agriculture and Slow Food Chicago are gearing up for their second day of volunteering at urban farms and gardens. They’ll be helping out at Earl’s Garden Mae’s Kitchen, a community garden project in Englewood. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or can’t tell cabbage from kale, come learn new skills, make friends, and support local agriculture. Be sure to bring your garden clothes, closed-toe shoes, and a water bottle. (Adam Przybyl)


Geometric Complexions

Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St. Friday, April 28–Friday, June 9. (773) 523-0200.

The Sergio Gomez-curated exhibit, entitled “Geometric Complexions,” features thirteen artists working within a visual tradition originating as early as 1908 with Cubism. The exhibit will showcase a range of techniques and approaches to the medium. (Bridget Newsham)

Spring 2017 Exhibition at Yollocalli Arts Reach

Yollocalli Arts Reach, 2801 S. Ridgeway Ave. Friday, May 12, 5:30pm–7pm. Free.

The Yollocalli Arts Reach is hosting their 2017 Spring Exhibition—stop by to see and listen to the amazing work made during the Spring Session by Camera Flux, Your Story, Your Way! and Street Art Studio. Snacks will be provided. (Bridget Newsham)

Thursdayboy on Friday with YAW

Currency Exchange Café, 305 E. Garfield Blvd. Friday, May 12, 3pm–4pm. Free. (773) 855-9163.

The host is Yaw Agyeman, an Artist-in-Residence at Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture. YAW is a well-regarded musician and theatrical performer, and is sure to amaze. Drink specials will be available at the café. (Bridget Newsham)

Decolonizing Architecture

Swift Hall, 1025-35 E. 58th St. Friday, May 12. 2pm–6pm. Free. (312) 972-5691.

This half-day-long Critical Inquiry Symposium will bring together Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti, and Eyal Weizman with the Palestinian/Israeli art/architecture/design collective “Decolonizing Architecture.” Theaster Gates will also be there as a respondent. Community activists and representatives of Palestine Legal and Black Lives Matter will all take part. (Joseph S. Pete)

It’s Now: North Lawndale BBQ and Celebration

3346 W. 16th St. Saturday, May 13, noon–5pm. Free. Food will be provided. Email Jonathan Kelley at for more information.

Celebrate the beginning of the transformation of a formerly vacant building on 16th Street into a community museum in North Lawndale this Saturday. Join the party for food, community resources, music, and the beginnings of a new mural, designed by artists at Stateville Prison. (Emily Lipstein)

Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago Pop-Ups

Renegade Craft Fair, 1817 S. Halsted St. Saturday–Sunday, May 13–May 14, 11am–6pm.

This Mother’s Day Weekend, celebrate “all things handmade” with a pop-up that has nearly as many vendors as Renegade’s usual seasonal craft fairs. Peruse a selection of artisan crafts, as well as food trucks, DIY workshops, craft beer, and more, while listening to DJ sets from Lumpen Radio. All are welcome; treat yourself and the maternal figure in your life to a special shopping experience. (Adia Robinson)


Noise // Drone // Punk Show

Maushaus, 21st St. and Throop St. Friday, May 12. Doors 7pm, show 9pm. $5. Message Facebook event for address

This Friday, Maushaus’s walls will shake with drone, electro, metal, punk, and experimental sounds. The night’s acts will include Hack, Curse, Dirty Junk, Trash Catties, Blood Rhythms, Black Sandwich, and The Pornography Glows. (Maddie Anderson)

Jugrnaut Presents: Lil Jake and Friends

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Saturday, May 13. Doors 8pm, show 9pm. $5 for first 50 people to RSVP, $10 at door. RSVP at

Spend the thirteenth of the month watching Chicago rapper Lil Jake From 13th do a special “end-of-semester” performance, including features from Just One, Sante DuBois and other secret special guests (more of his friends?). Don’t sleep on this Chicago Sleepers production! (Maddie Anderson)


BACinema: First Nations Film and Video Festival

Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Wednesday, May 10, 7:30pm. Free.

The 2017 First Nations Film Festival comes to the BAC to screen its two featured films. Set in 1976, Rhymes for Young Ghouls concerns Native American children under the age of sixteen who are forced to attend the residential school St. Dymphna by government order. It will be followed by the festival’s featured short film, Jane & the Wolf. Karrmen Crey will give an introduction, and refreshments will be provided. (Roderick Sawyer)

Clybourne Park

University Church, 5655 S. University Ave. Friday, May 12–Sunday, May 14 and Friday, May 19–Sunday, May 21. Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm, Sundays, 2pm. $12, discounts available for seniors and students.

The Hyde Park Community Players present Bruce Norris’s Pulitzer- and Tony Award–winning play Clybourne Park. Norris’s tale picks up where Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun left off, using biting satire to unpack white flight and gentrification over two generations in a fifty-year timespan. Stay after the May 14 performance to discuss the play with the play’s cast and crew. (Nicole Bond)

I Am Not Your Negro

Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. Saturday, May 13, 7pm and 10pm; Sunday, May 14, 3:45pm. $5, $3 group discount.

Raoul Peck’s film shows how race in America does matter using media depictions and archival footage from past and present. Presented in part by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, with a panel discussion following the 7pm screening. (Nicole Bond)

Various Artists Independent Film Festival: Call for Submissions

Through Sunday, May 14. Enter code: SPRING20 to receive twenty percent off late submissions entry fee. For full guidelines, visit

The next round of submissions for this independent film festival welcomes contributions that are “100 years old or 100 days old,” and of all genres, as long as they’re under forty-five minutes. As with the last round, the festival promises cash prizes and celebrity judges who will review all submissions. (Jake Bittle)

Chicago Home Theater Festival

Locations and times vary. Sunday, May 14–Monday, May 29. Bronzeville: Sunday, May 14; Kenwood: Thursday, May 18; Hyde Park: Sunday, May 21; Englewood: Monday, May 22; Pilsen: Tuesday, May 23; South Shore: Saturday, May 27. Free–$65.

The Chicago Home Theater Festival has merged art and culture with community since 2012, with over five hundred artists and 5,000 neighbors convening in dozens of neighborhoods to share meals and experiences in each other’s homes. Against the backdrop of a hyper-segregated city, the gatherings center on connection and inclusion. This year’s festival offerings span a wide range of interests from the poetry of Frankiem Mitchell and Orin Frazier to tarot reading from healer Rhonda Wheatley, along with many other performances to suit practically every palate. Hosts include Northwestern professor E. Patrick Johnson, WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore, artist and DIY impresario Mykele Deville, and TRACE artists Marcus Davis and Alexandria Eregbu. (Nicole Bond)

BACinema: The Red Turtle

Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Wednesday, May 24th, 7:30pm. $9.50, $7.50 members, $4 children under 12.

This Academy Award-nominated animated film eschews dialogue to tell the story of a castaway who tries to escape a deserted tropical island on a bamboo raft. He runs into the eponymous Red Turtle, which changes his life. The Chicago Film Critics Association named it last year’s Best Animated Film. (Joseph S. Pete)

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