Notes & Calendar 5/17/17

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


Is it a Mirage?

The proof will be in the pudding…and the eggs and bacon, fresh fruits and vegetables, and diapers and detergent as word around town is South Shore’s three-year food desert will get a much needed oasis from Shop ‘n Save. The grocery chain signed a fifteen-year lease on a portion of the 40,000 square foot vacancy left by the former Dominick’s. Meanwhile, the owner of Jeffery Plaza listed the entire mall property for sale, asking $19 million, bypassing chatter of eminent do-main and holding out just long enough for front row seating at the gentrification show, as Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) quietly works to rezone 71st Street and tamp down the tone of new business-es that will surely come in the shadow of the upcoming Tiger Woods-designed golf course and Obama Library in Jackson Park. 

Troubled Water

While investigating Paul Hansen, a clouted former district superintendent in the Department of Water Management who allegedly sold guns through his city hall email, Inspector General Joe Ferguson stumbled upon yet another email-related scandal: the circulation of racist and sexist emails in the water department featuring a racist reference to Barack Obama, perverse comments on women and LGBTQ communities, and a gorilla face photoshopped onto a picture of an African-American deputy commissioner in the department. Ferguson’s findings soon started a chain reaction in personnel changes: Hansen resigned; Barrett Murphy, the head of the department and an Emanuel family friend, was fired; and the man-aging deputy handed in his resignation letter (it was accepted). He moved quickly on this scandal, but, well, Rahm—keep your head above water.

Tribune & Sun-Times: K-I-S-S-I-N-G?

As if the major news operations in this city were not hampered enough as it is—see last week’s cover story for more details—the entity known as Tronc, which owns the Tribune, has decided to widen its news funnel and attempt to acquire Wrapports, the parent company of Sun-Times. The connective tissue here is Michael Ferro, the bumbling tech “mogul” who’s stumbled his way through every deal he’s made. Lower-level people nearly always lose jobs in the process, but Ferro pockets millions for himself. Ferro bought the Sun-Times with a group of rich businessmen in 2011 and proceeded to do his utmost to turn a profitable business into a limping newsroom supplementing badly-run content factories, scooping up the Reader along the way. Then, two years ago, he dumped Wrapports, took over Tribune Publishing, and renamed it the parody that it is now. We can only imagine how Sun-Times and Reader employees feel now that Ferro and his deputy Tim Knight might control them again. A former longtime Sun-Times editor, who called Ferro a “fuckwad,” speculated to Weekly contributing editor Sam Stecklow in 2015 that Knight “doesn’t really understand how a media business works.” Perhaps not surprisingly, some staffers at the Wrapports-owned Reader, which coincidentally voted to authorize a strike in the face of dismally low wages, are now calling to be purchased by a third party so they can be removed from the equation altogether. We don’t envy anyone involved.

King Me

As our cover story this week on the past and future of chess-playing in Chicago notes, chess coach Joseph Ocol, a teacher at Earle STEM Academy in Englewood, was able to snag donated tickets to the U.S. Chess Federation’s Super Nationals Tournament this weekend. The effort was worthwhile: to match the achievements of Earle STEM student Tamya Fultz, whom Ocol dubbed “Chess Queen of the South,” Earle now has a “Blitz Chess King” in the form of eight-year-old Taahir Levi. Levi won first place in the Blitz Chess category for the K–3 under 600 section, DNAinfo reported. Fultz won twentieth place in her category and Earle STEM came in twenty-first place overall. Earle STEM was the only CPS school (and the only Illinois school) to even qualify in its category, K–8 under 750; but if recent programming reported on in this issue fulfills its promise, the next Super Nationals Tournament four years from now may crown more Chicago royalty.



Exclusively Us Seniors’ Day Celebration

63rd St. from Union Ave. to Sangamon St. Saturday, May 20, 10am–3pm. (773) 609-4863.

Celebrate Englewood’s Seniors with this health fair, which will be accompanied by games, prizes, and performances from the Ada Niles Senior Line Dancers, Chicago Dancing Divas and Dudes and more. Transportation from twenty senior centers in the area will be provided. (Adia Robinson)

Young, Fabulous & Female Chicago Panel and Mixer

Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St. Tuesday, May 16, 7pm–10pm. 21+. RSVP at

Join the online magazine The Root for Young, Fabulous & Female, a women-only event, which will feature a panel discussion and Q&A, bringing together influential women to discuss this year’s theme, redefining success in personal and professional life. There will be a pre-panel reception and a post-event mixer with the men from the manCode event. (Andrew Koski)

Invest in Chess Tournament

Gordon Center of Interrogative Science, 929 57th St. Thursday, May 18, 10am–12pm.

Students from Carnegie Elementary and Pershing Elementary will go head to head in this chess tournament, sponsored by Invest in Chess—the only one of its kind between two Chicago Public Schools. Invest in Chess is a chess advocacy initiative that has been coaching students and instilling in them a love of the game. (Adia Robinson)


Third Friday at Zhou B Art Center

Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St. Friday, May 19, 7pm–10pm. Free.

The acclaimed Zhou Brothers invite the public to check out the exhibition spaces and resident artist studios at their towering, catacomb-like art complex in Bridgeport on the third Friday of every month. This Friday, attendees can talk to the artists featured in the show “Geometric Complexions,” which includes abstract work from the United States, Mexico, Iran, and Italy. (Joseph S. Pete)

Hip Hop in the Park at Piotrowski

Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St. Friday, May 19, 5pm–8pm. Free.

Teens can learn all about the basics of hip-hop at this free event in Little Village. They can take part in workshops in breakdancing, beat boxing, DJing; as example and inspiration, they can watch professional dancers perform. (Joseph S. Pete)

Opening Reception: The Petty Biennial

The Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. Opening reception Friday, May 19, 6pm–8pm. Through Friday, June 23. Free. (773) 702-9724.

Arts + Public Life hosts the opening reception for “The Petty Biennial,” curated by Keisha Leek and Sadie Woods and with live sets from Trqpiteca DJs. All work focuses on the centralized goal of breaking down stereotypes and norms around communities of color. Those exhibiting in the collection use a variety of media, from video to painting, to represent a range of regional and national perspectives. (Bridget Newsham)

Spring Super Sunday

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Sunday, May 21, 1pm–5pm. (773) 324-5520. Free.

Spring Super Sunday will feature all things Art Center. The all-day event will showcase a variety of activities including a performance by Louder Than a Bomb, zine-making, art sales, and an artist talk given by Corinna Button. Stop by to see what your local artists and performers have been working on! (Bridget Newsham)

Making a Place of Purpose, A Collection of Small Actions

Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. Saturday, May 20, 12pm–6pm. (773) 702-0200.

Experience interactive performances and activities that consider how space can function as spaces of belonging. Organized by the Smart’s 2016/17 “Interpreters in Residence,” the Belonging Collective, this event will feature a variety of intimate actions including performative readings, workshops, meals, and more. This event is being presented in collaboration with Arts + Public Life’s Teen Arts Council, Sojourner Scholars, Red Line Service, the Stockyard Institute, and more. (Roderick Sawyer)


WHPK 88.5 presents Summer Breeze 2017!

UofC Bartlett Quad, 5640 S. University Ave. Friday, May 19, 5pm–9pm. Free. (773) 702-8424.

Join WHPK 88.5 FM for the Summer Breeze 2017 concert featuring Palm, Fee Lion, Clearance, and Blackerface! Don’t get it confused with the UofC’s event of the same name the next day—WHPK’s concert is free and open to the public. (Roderick Sawyer)

Justin Townes Earle

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Saturday, May 20. Doors 7pm, show 7:30pm. $25–$35. (312) 526-3851.

Catch singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle, recently signed with New West Records, for a night of old favorites and some new songs off of his upcoming album Kids In The Street, which will debut May 26. He will be joined by longtime guitarist Paul Niehaus and The Sadies as his backing band. (Andrew Koski)


Reggies. 2105 S. State St. Sunday, May 21. Doors 7pm. $12–$15. 21+. (312) 949-0120.

Reggies will host a night of “heavy music for heavy times,” featuring headliner Samothrace and their blues-based doom metal sound. They will be joined by He Whose Ox Is Gored—a “unique synthesis of doom, progressive elements and shoegaze”; the funeral-paced, death metal–infused doom of Disrotted; and Atonement Theory, Jay Jancetic’s solo project, which he describes as “heavy, dark and brooding, yet melodic.” (Andrew Koski)

Drea the Vibe Dealer and Brother El

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Monday, May 22, 7pm. $5. 21+. (312) 801-2100.

Every Monday the Promontory hosts The Corner, “an intimate musical experience featuring a variety of Chicago’s most innovative emerging artists.” This week will feature singer-songwriter, Drea the Vibe Dealer—a teaching artist, member of the Medicine Woman collective, and older cousin and mentor to Smino—and legendary DJ, producer, and emcee Brother El, the original founder of the long-running radio show “The Hip Hop Project” on WLUW (88.7 FM). All proceeds will go to the artists. (Andrew Koski)


Education Emancipation: A Benefit Concert

Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. May 20, 6pm-10pm. $25, $15 students with ID.

Members of the I Project and Bouchet Elementary School are teaming up to raise funds for kids at Bouchet, a predominantly Black, low-income, elementary school in South Shore. The benefit aims to raise $25,000 to provide each student with a Chromebook. All funds raised in excess of the goal will go toward after-school programs, school supplies, and uniforms. Performers featured will include Ric Wilson, Daryn Alexus, Kopano, Christian JaLon, Ausar, and more. (Roderick Sawyer)

Auditions for Hyde Park Community Players

Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn. Tuesday, May 16, 6:30pm–9pm; Saturday, May 20, 3pm-6pm.

Hyde Park Community Players will hold auditions for their summer production of William Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night. No prepared monologue necessary, sides will be given for reading. For questions or more information, email director Leslie Halverson at (Nicole Bond)

The Black Line: Part Three

DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl. Sunday, May 21, 2pm–5pm. $15, members $10. (773) 947-0600.

Film producer D. Channisn Berry’s (Dark Girls and The Church House) documentary profiles the history and future of Black women in America. Candid in-depth interviews explore marriage, mothering, racism, career, education, religion and sex as related to identity and culture. (Nicole Bond)

The Dream Play

High Concept Laboratories, 2233 S. Throop St. Monday, May 22, 7:30pm-10pm. $10 suggested donation.

Chicago based arts collective Mozawa, brings twelve interdisciplinary artists together to re-create their version of August Strindberg’s classic A Dream Play where expressionism and surrealism combine to take a critical look at the human condition. (Nicole Bond)

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; Wednesday May 24 Little Village; 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)

Among All This You Stand Like A Fine Brownstone

eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Through Thursday, June 8. Fridays, Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays, 3pm. $40, discounts available for seniors, students, and groups. (773) 752-3955.

Enjoy this revival tribute that celebrates the life of Vantile L. Whitfield as well as, of course, the Gwendolyn Brooks centennial. First performed to acclaim at eta back in the nineties, you now have a second chance to watch sketchbook vignettes of Black life come to together through Whitfield’s adaptations of poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks—don’t miss out. (Roderick Sawyer)


Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. opened May 11–June 11. $15-$68. (773) 753-4472.

Long before there was Donnie Darko or Wilfred, there was Mary Chase’s 1944 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Harvey. The titular character is an invisible rabbit that stands six feet and three inches tall and may end up imprisoning the “carefree and kind” protagonist Elwood P. Dowd in a sanitarium. (Joseph S. Pete)

Never the Milk & Honey

The Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Through Sunday, May 28. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays, 3pm. $28-$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)

Clybourne Park

University Church, 5655 S. University Ave. 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. (Nicole Bond)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Print Edition