Wasted Schooling on Manganese

Last Thursday, Far Southeast Side residents filled up a union hall to discuss the manganese pollution emitted by local industry. To begin, representatives from city and federal agencies explained that soil samples taken in the neighborhood earlier this year showed worryingly high levels of the potentially neurotoxic element. Afterward, residents lined up at a pair of microphones for a Q&A session. To suggest, however, as the Reader did, that local residents then “schooled” the bureaucrats misses the point. The government officials—with their complex explanations of future studies and clumsy attempts to connect with the crowd—simply spoke past residents of a neighborhood exhausted and angered by their recent fight against petcoke, and scared that the soil in their backyard gardens might contaminate the vegetables they grow. As one man put it, in response to an official who noted that she had kids, and so understood the frustration and fear in the room: “Why don’t you send them to summer camp down here?”

Peeling off the Critique

If you take their word for it, the newest show at the National Museum for Mexican Art has gentrification in its crosshairs. Even its name—“Peeling off the Grey”—casts the brushed steel and exposed concrete of Pilsen’s newest condos as a scab to pick at. But a letter penned by Pilsen Alliance and +gallery Chicago tells a different story, alleging that the museum forced the censorship of works that satirized 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis and The Resurrection Project, which has close ties to the alderman. The role galleries play in the “revitalization” of low-income neighborhoods has made them flashpoints for protest around the country; recent months have seen picket lines and red paint from Boyle Heights to Bushwick. But the NMMA has a forty-year history and deep roots in Pilsen—which makes it all remarkable that they’d buckle so easily. Apparently their ruthless critique isn’t big on the details.

Inaccessible Living

Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, an advocacy group for people with disabilities, has filed a suit alleging that the City of Chicago failed to enforce architectural accessibility standards on building managers of affordable rental housing. After receiving over 50,000 inquiries from individuals with disabilities searching for affordable housing, Access began to investigate city agencies’ compliance with federal laws in 2016. What they found were violations in 650 units, from inaccessible bathroom sinks to renters with mobility impairments forced to climb multiple stairs to enter their homes. The suit states that city agencies like the Department of Planning and Development failed to comply with statutes in the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Individuals with disabilities are often those who most need access to affordable housing—Access Living estimates that only twenty-eight percent of Chicagoans with disabilities are employed, compared to seventy-five percent of those without disabilities. The bottom line of the lawsuit is that in the three decades the Affordable Rental Housing Program has existed, there has been an insufficient number of units accessible to people with disabilities as required by federal law.

Kwame’s Baby Steps

State Senator Kwame Raoul, the Democratic nominee to replace Attorney General Lisa Madigan, self-styles as a progressive supporter of criminal justice reform. Why is it, then, that so many of his signature bills either begin or end poorly? To wit, the legislation he introduced in response to the Better Government Association/WBEZ investigation that found serious issues with investigations of police shootings in the Cook County suburbs “changes little,” an update from the two nonprofit new organizations found, because it “sets forth no parameters [on future investigations] and provides no funding.” Add this to a bill he introduced last year that would’ve required the Office of the State Appellate Prosecutor to investigate Chicago police shootings, only to be passed as a resolution asking for a report on “police professionalism,” and we’re left with a few victories and too many symbolic gestures.



“Chicago’s Got Talent” Auditions

LSA Cultural Center, 4249 N. Lincoln Ave. Tuesday, May 15–Wednesday, May 16, Sunday May 20–Monday, May 21, 1pm–5:30pm. $12.26.

Bring your voice, your moves, and yes, your wallet to the auditions for this talent show and fundraiser for a new community center in Gage Park. The worthy cause, and the $500 prize, should make the fee and trek up to the North Side worth it. You can also submit your audition online by May 21. (Hafsa Razi)

CCC/CHA Partners in Education Information Session

 Olive-Harvey College, 1001 S. Woodlawn Ave., Room 1205. Wednesday, May 16, 10am–noon, noon–2pm. Free. (312) 553-2830. 

CHA and City Colleges are teaming up to host several information sessions on how eligible participants can attend City Colleges of Chicago at low or no cost. Learn about the program deadlines, requirements, and academic programs to put you on a path to a better career. To be considered for funding, you must attend an information session before registering for classes. Bring your CHA voucher number with you. (Maple Joy)

Three Proven Ways to Increase Your Business

BopBiz Center, 644 E. 79th St. Thursday, May 17, 10am2pm. (773) 301-9371.

At this event, organized by the Chicago Women Empowerment Group, learn about the three proven ways to help grow your business: sales, marketing, and publicity. Come also to network with other Chatham business owners and to hear from guest speakers Tequila Shabazz and Dan Duster. (Adia Robinson)

 3rd Annual South Shore Summit: Shore Up

Powell Elementary, 7511 S. Shore Dr. Saturday, May 19, 8am1pm. Free. Register on Eventbrite.

Join South Shore Works for this year’s South Shore summit, which they promise will be their best one yet. This event will encourage you to take action to revitalize the neighborhood, with sessions on housing, youth engagement, economic development, and more. There will also be a resource fair and a continental breakfast served in the morning. (Adia Robinson)

Medicare for All Town Hall

APWU Local 1 Union Hall, 4217 S. Halsted St. Saturday, May 19, 11am1pm. Free. Contact for interpretation and translation accommodations. (312) 380-9357.

At this event, sponsored by the Illinois Single Payer Coalition, come share your stories and learn the best way to participate in the Medicare for All Campaign. State Representative Litesa Wallace and Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa will be speaking. (Adia Robinson)

Joyful Noise

Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, 4021 S. State St. Monday, May 21, 6pm8:30pm. Email to register. (773) 373-5220.

Bronzeville activists will lead a conversation on mass incarceration, violence, and the trauma they cause, and will help participants learn ways to use their collective voice to address these issues. Dinner will be served. (Adia Robinson)




Dfblr8r Art Gallery, 1029 W. 35th St. Friday, May 18, 7pm–10pm. (773) 523-0200.

Every third Friday, Bridgeport’s Zhou B Art Center hosts a reception that gives the public a chance to check out recent works, including those at the performance art gallery Dfblr8r. There’s always plenty to see in this multi-story warehouse-turned-cultural hub. (Joseph S. Pete)

Raekwon da Chef

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Friday May 19, doors 8pm, show 9pm. $38–$56.

(312) 801-2100.

Hyde Park’s own Promontory has locked down a rare appearance from Staten Island’s finest. The Wu-Tang icon will perform with live backing from Chicago’s own Mo Fitz Band. (Christopher Good)

Underground Underdogs Presents: Chicago

Chitown Futbol, 2343 S. Throop St. Friday, May 18, 8pm. $10.

Forget the name: Underground Underdogs’ newest party is set to overperform. The Chicago-based “music, fashion, and culture” website has brought together eight local acts for an evening of music; highlights include 2MYGRAVE, VICTOR! and Kari. (Christopher Good)

Chicago Zine Fest Afterparty w/ Punk Rock Karaoke

Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St. Saturday, May 19, 7:30pm–12pm. $6. (773) 837-0145.

Chicago Zine Fest attracts talented zinesters from all over the country to its must-see Exhibition Day at Plumbers Union Hall. But after this ink-stained and stapled party, there’s the afterparty—and in this case, it involves PRK playing a lot of punk rock at a hip Bridgeport gallery space. (Joseph S. Pete)

CSO Chamber All-Access: Brahms & Bartók

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr. Sunday, May 20, 3pm–5pm. Free, RSVP required at (312) 294-3000.

Want to ring in Spring with some strings? The latest installation of Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s All-Access series will bring the Meridian Quartet to South Shore Cultural Center for a performance of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 3 and Brahm’s String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor. (Christopher Good)


TSG Teen Design Showcase

Mind + Hand, 5400 S. Pulaski Rd. Thursday, May 17, 6pm–8pm. Free. 

Teens enrolled in a 10-week Graphic Design Program will showcase their final projects on what “the simple good” means to them and how it can promote positive activism around the world. The Simple Good (TSG) is a non-profit dedicated to empowering at-risk youth through art and positivity. Snacks and refreshments provided. (Amy Qin)

MFA Thesis Exhibition: No Burden For Continuity

Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Friday. May 25, 6pm. Free. (773) 702-2787.

Join the UofC’s Department of Visual Arts and the Logan Center for Exhibitions for this year’s MFA thesis exhibition. Burden For Continuity is the theme and will feature the works of Adrienne Elyse Meyers, Chichan Kwong, Elise Putnam and Zespo. (Amy Qin)

Brunch-Ski: Brunchlox Day Party

Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar, 960 W. 31st St. Sunday, June 3, noon–8pm. No cover. (773) 890-0588.

June is right around the corner, which means another Brunchlox and Kimski party featuring DJs Russoul, Andrew Emil, Samone, and more. Come to eat, drink, and dance with over 40 craft beers on tap. Brunchlox brunch menu until 4pm; Kimski dinner menu from 5pm onward. (Amy Qin)


Jumaane Taylor: A Cinematic Tap Experience

Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, 1456 E. 70th St. Friday, May 25, 7:30pm–10pm. Free. (312) 857-5561.

Jumaane Taylor, the dancer-in-residence at the Dorchester Art and Housing Collaborative, will join forces with Black Cinema House for an evening of live tap performance and cinema. Taylor is a Chicago native who made his professional debut with M.A.D.D. Rhythms and has been dancing for over thirteen years. Black Cinema House will screen About Tap, which features the stylistic performances of three of America’s leading male tap dancers. (Amy Qin)

Movies in the Park—Marshall 

DuSable Museum of African-American History, Sunken Garden, 740 E. 56th Pl. Saturday, June 16, 7:30pm. Free. (773) 947-0600.

A free outdoor screening of the Reginald Hudlin film about the life of Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman)—the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice—as a young attorney for the NAACP before he won Brown v. Board of of Education. (Soulet Ali) 

Never a Lovely so Real: Photography and Film in Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave. May 12October 28. $14-$25. (312) 443-3600.

“Never a Lovely so Real”, an allusion to a Nelson Algren quote about loving a woman with a broken nose, shows the work of photographers, filmmakers, and others artists depicting Chicago from the 1950s to the 1970s. The Art Institute of Chicago’s Assistant Curator of Photography Michal Raz-Russo curated the exhibit about the city’s history as a collocation of neighborhoods with a vibrant and diverse art scene. (Joseph S. Pete)

Couples: Secrets, Truths and Love

The Revival Theater, 1160 E. 55th St. Friday and Saturday, June 1 and 2. Doors open 7pm, show 7:30pm. Tickets $25, on sale now at

This original play brought to you by Feed Your Spirit Media and New Birth Productions is the fifth written by author/playwright Dorian H. Nash. Nash’s show is funny in places and poignant in others while showing how in every couple there are secrets, truths, love, and sometimes a surprise no one would have predicted. (Nicole Bond)

Anton in Show Business now playing and AUDITIONS for Summer Outdoor Shakespeare

University Church, 5655 S. University Ave. May 18–20. Friday and Saturday 8pm, Sunday pm. $10–$12 advance and $12–$15 at door.

The Hyde Park Community Players’ newest production, Anton in Show Business, features an all-female cast living their dream of performing “Anton Chekhov” in Texas. The comedy, which was written by Jane Martin, won the 2001 American Theater Critics Steinberg New Play Award. The Hyde Park Community Players are also holding AUDITIONS for their summer outdoor Shakespeare production of As You Like It, on Saturday May 19 from noon to 5pm and Wednesday May 2 from 6pm – 9pm at Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn.  (Nicole Bond)

Comfort Stew

eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Through May 20. Fridays, 8pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 3pm. $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)

The Originalist

Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. May 10–June 10. 7:30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays; Sunday matinee at 2:30pm. Tickets $38 and up.

MacArthur Award-winning writer John Strand debuts his new play in Chicago this Thursday. A young Harvard Law School graduate finds an unlikely mentor in Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as the two confront one of the nation’s most polarizing cases. (Nicole Bond)


Info Sessions for Windy City Harvest Corps Apprenticeship

Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave., room 1102. Monday, May 14 and the second Monday of every month, 9am–noon. (224) 269-0159.

Attend an information session for Windy City Harvest Corps, which is currently accepting applications for their fourteen-week paid job training program. Previously incarcerated individuals and veterans will work closely with mentors to prepare for full-time employment in urban agriculture or related fields. Email Joan Hopkins at if you plan on attending. (Amy Qin)

Eat with a Purpose: Innovation and the Future of Food

Polsky Exchange North, 1452 E. 53rd St., 2nd floor. Thursday, May 17, 6pm–8:30pm. Free. Registration required. (773) 702-2076.

Come hear about the future of food at Eat With a Purpose, a panel discussion being held at Hyde Park’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Exchange. At the panel, experts from local and national organizations alike will speak about the innovative methods that they propose to increase food accessibility and sustainability worldwide. This panel is one installment in the UofC’s Innovation Fest 2018. (Michael Wasney)

Planting Day at El Paseo

El Paseo Community Garden, 944 W. 21st St. Saturday, May 19, 10am–2pm. (773) 234-6168.

It’s late spring, but it’s not too late to be planting the hot crops—and it’s never too late to keep the garden looking good with a coat of new paint and a fresh layer of mulch. Every event at El Paseo is both a stewardship day and a potluck, so bring your garden gloves and a good spring side dish. (Emeline Posner)

Healthy Food Hub Market Pop-Up

Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Dr. Saturday, May 26, noon–2pm. Free. (708) 405-9476.

After a winter-long rest, the Healthy Food Hub is up and running again in Chicago, just in time for Chicago State’s African Liberation Day Conference, where they will be staging a pop-up market day. For the rest of 2018, the Healthy Food Hub will be distributing produce and other home goods from Chatham Academy High School, Saturdays, 11am3pm. (Emeline Posner)

Calumet Wetlands Planting Day

Indian Ridge Marsh, 11600 S. Torrence Ave. Saturday, June 2, 8:30am–noon. (312) 453-0230. Free. Register online.

Audubon Great Lakes, The Wetlands Initiative, the Chicago Park District and the Illinois Soybean Association invite people to tour 45,000 acres of wetlands in Indian Ridge Marsh, which stretches through southeast Chicago, the south suburbs and Northwest Indiana. Bring water, long pants, long sleeves, work boots, a hat, and the willingness to plant in a wetland habitat threatened by industrialization. (Joseph S. Pete)

El Corn Fest de Pilsen

Pilsen Community Market, 18th St. & Halsted St. (Byline Bank parking lot). Sunday, June 3 and every Sunday through late October, 9am–2pm.

Mercadito Comunitario de Pilsen, aka Pilsen Community Market, is kicking off its summer season with its Pilsen Corn Fest fundraiser. Come for music, food, desserts, and much more! (Amy Qin)

McKinley Park Farmers Market Opening Day

McKinley Park Farmers Market, 3705 S. Archer Ave. Sunday, June 3, 10am–2pm.

At the first McKinley Park Farmers Market day of the year, gear up for a incomparable lineup of vendors, including Yvolina’s Tamales, Quarter Mile Sauce Runnin’ Hot, Sputnik Roasters, Cedillo’s Produce, C&D Family Farms, Tubby’s Taste, John Bailey Honey, and “more to come.” Bring your appetite and a bag for all the fresh produce! (Emeline Posner)

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