Notes & Calendar 5/24/17

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


Sanctuary City Status Reaffirmed

On Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel announced his One Chicago campaign, which champions Chicago as a city that welcomes everyone regardless of their background. Its motto, “Three million Chicagoans. Three million stories. Three million reasons to stand together,” doesn’t mention one particularly relevant three million: the $3 million in federal funding that Chicago stands to lose due to its sanctuary city status. Fortunately, the number, while seemingly high, is a significant drop from the initial estimate of more than $1 billion in denied federal funding. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this past week that because of a federal judge’s ruling, the government can only punish sanctuary cities like Chicago by denying them grants given by the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security. While there will still be a drop in funding for state and local law enforcement agencies, according to Rahm’s spokesman Matt McGrath, “Chicago’s values are not for sale.” Let’s hope it stays that way.

A “Payday Loan” for Chicago Public Schools

$389 million, plus unknown interest rates, to be paid off over an unknown time period, to unknown sources—that will be the price of keeping CPS open through the end of the school year, according to Rahm’s Friday announcement. Derided as a “payday loan” by progressive aldermen and the CTU, the $389 million is being borrowed against the $467 million in block grants that the state owes CPS. It remains unclear when, if ever, that money will arrive from Springfield. As part of the happy trend, the loan will have to be paid back by CPS somehow, even if the possibly-promised Springfield money never comes. The good news is that schools will stay open till June 20, and part of the owed teacher pensions will be paid. Those two perennial questions are thus laid to rest, at least until the next payment comes due.

Washington Park Homes Redevelopment to (Finally) Begin

The CHA announced last week that its redevelopment of the Washington Park Homes, which has been pushed back every year since it was first announced in 2008, will finally start construction later this year. The new development will fill the empty site of the former high-rise public housing complex, which stood at 45th Street and Cottage Grove until it was demolished in 2002 as part of the CHA’s long-delayed Plan for Transformation. According to the developer, Brinshore Michaels, the development will include a series of three-story walk-up buildings running down Cottage Grove as well as a number of retail storefronts and a central plaza for community events. In keeping with the pattern of other Plan for Transformation redevelopments, only around one-third of the developments will be set aside for CHA residents, with another third of the units designated as affordable housing and another third rented out at market rate. This will likely result in less than fifty public housing units, as compared to hundreds in the old development’s high-rises. The CHA blamed the years of delay in starting the project on the ambiguous “financial hurdles” it has dealt with since the 2008 financial crisis, but the Weekly’s previous investigation into the agency’s redevelopment of the State Street Corridor found that the CHA has been flush with capital funds even as its redevelopment construction has slowed down significantly since around 2010, and furthermore that according to the Chicago Housing Initiative, most of the funds have come from city and federal coffers, not from private interests.

Little Village Unilever Factory Gets a Mayo-ver

Chicago’s world-famous mayonnaise factory is getting a makeover! The factory, which produces Hellmann’s Mayo products, is a sprawling 196,000 single-story structure. As one might expect with such a facility, local residents have been unhappy with the eyesore and increased traffic volume due to trucks entering in and out of the facility at regular intervals. In an attempt to alleviate these complaints, Unilever will reroute their exit away from homes on 26th Street and plant an astounding 420 trees to create “beautiful landscaping and buffering” between residents and the massive industrial facility. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Ricardo Muñoz of the 22nd district hope these changes will satisfy local residents and allow the factory to continue to grow and provide jobs to Little Village residents.



Immigration: Hoy en Inmigración

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Saturday, May 27, 9:30am–5:30pm. Free.ón

Únanse a Hoy para esta serie de talleres que discutirá tus derechos como inmigrante. Los talleres van a cubrir como responder a ICE cuando llegan a tu puerta, mantener los beneficios de DACA, asegurar tus finanzas en el evento de deportación, y más. Los talleres estarán impartidos por el Consulado General de México en Chicago y el Resurrection Project. La mayoría de los talleres estarán impartidos en español.

Join Hoy newspaper for this series of workshops on your rights as an immigrant. Workshops will cover responding to ICE at your door, maintaining DACA benefits, managing your finances in the event of a deportation, and more. Workshops will be taught by the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago and the Resurrection Project. Most workshops will be held in Spanish. (Roderick Sawyer, trans. Claire Moore)

CPRT 2017: The Uneven Geographies of Housing Choice

Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. Tuesday, May 30. 5:30pm–6pm reception, 6pm–7:30pm program. Free.

Learn about the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program in Chicago by joining the Chicago Policy Research Team and Chicago Fair Housing Alliance as they present their policy report, “‘Not Welcome’: The Uneven Geographies of Housing Choice.” The report examines income discrimination and the participants in the HVC program.  (Mira Chauhan)

The People Speak: Voices Against Violence

Kennedy-King College Theater, 740 W. 63rd St. May 30, 7pm–8:30pm. Free.

Behind each news update about violence in Chicago is a story. The Chicago Reporter, Young Chicago Authors, and Public Narrative are coming together to give the people of Chicago a voice and tell these stories. Among other participants, the poets of Young Chicago Authors will discuss the emotional implications of living with violence. (Mira Chauhan)


Curators Create

Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St. Through July 7. Monday–Saturday, 8am–6pm, Sunday, 8am–12pm.(773) 843-9000.

Curators Create, which opened last week, showcases the work of the artists that curate some of Chicago’s great art galleries. See work from Mary Ellen Croteau, Charles Gniech, Dolores Mercado, and others. As there are many more artist/curators in the area who could be featured in an event like this, Curators Create could become a biannual event at the art center. (Adia Robinson)

“A Constant Struggle” Panel Discussion: Strategies for Empowering Youth of Color

Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Wednesday, May 31, 7pm. (773) 445-3838.

Housed within the Beverly Area Arts Alliance’s ongoing art exhibition on the legacy of ongoing racism in present-day inequality, this panel discussion will deal with one part of that legacy. Featuring individuals involved in social justice movements, social services, and teaching and youth programming, the panel will be moderated by Kathleen McInerney, a Saint Xavier professor who studies privilege and education policy. (Julia Aizuss)

Underground Comedy Night

Produce Model Gallery, 1007 W. 19th St. Sunday, May 28, 6pm–9pm. Free.

Produce Model’s summer hours might only be Saturday afternoons and by appointment, but catch an extra glimpse at their current exhibition this Sunday, when the three artists featured in “Worldplay” (Alberto Aguilar, Jesse Malmed, and Alex Bradley Cohen), as well as several others, will participate in what the gallery’s event description is calling a “(literal) underground comedy night.” Go and have a laugh, then report back to us on what that means. (Julia Aizuss)


Jody Watley

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Thursday, May 25. 6pm doors, 7pm show. 21+. $28–$60. (312) 801-2100.

Don’t miss Grammy Award–winning artist Jody Watley at the Promontory! Since the 1980s her music and music videos have been at the forefront of some of the most groundbreaking trends and movements in modern pop culture, so she’s sure to still stun with her moves and vocals. (Maddie Anderson)

Katastro and Pacific Dub: Best Friends Forever Tour

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Thursday, May 25, 8pm. 17+. $13, VIP Meet and Greet $40. (312) 949-0120.

Join Katastro and Pacific Dub at Reggies for what they’re calling a Best Friends Forever Tour—or #BFFTour, if you’re so inclined to share. Katastro combines sounds of blues, rock, funk, and hip-hop, while Pacific Dub boasts, fittingly, a “coastal vibe” to their “innovative alternative-rock-reggae.” The bands will also be joined by Aaron Kamm and the One Drops and the Concrete Roots. (Roderick Sawyer)

Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Friday, May 26. 8pm doors. 17+. $20–$25, VIP Meet and Greet $40. (312) 949-0120.

Reggies will host a night of “beautiful but brutal” and “chaotic but calculated” sounds sourced all the way from Florida to Toronto to Sweden, featuring metal bands Evergrey, Seven Kingdoms, Need, and Ascendia. (Maddie Anderson)


Maurice Sendak’s Tales from the Brothers Grimm

The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St. Wednesday, May 31, 6pm. $5. (866) 811-4111.

The Revival will stage a live reading of Maurice Sendak’s take on the Brothers Grimm’s notoriously dark “Fairy Tales.” You might recognize Sendak from the iconic classic Where the Wild Things Are, where the wild rumpus started. The Hyde Park improv group says it’s appropriate for ages seven and up. (Joseph S. Pete)

Yo-Yo Ma Peace Concert

St. Sabina Church, 1210 W. 78th Pl. Sunday, June 11, 4pm. $20. (312) 294-3000.

Join cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Children’s Choir for a music concert presented in partnership with Saint Sabina’s that celebrates and promotes more peace within Chicago. This program will include work by Dvořák, Joplin and Ellington. All donations and net ticket proceeds will benefit Saint Sabina’s anti-violence and “Strong Futures” employment programs. (Roderick Sawyer)

Funny Grabs Back: Future Ties

Pinwheel Records, 1722 W. 18th St. Friday, June 2, 8pm–11pm. Free, purchase of raffle tickets encouraged. $5, $20 for five tickets.

The Ladylike Project, a network that partners local artists with local community organizations, is coming to Pilsen with a comedy-afterschool programming duo. With Brittany Meyer headlining and Shirley Blazen hosting, several stand-up comedians will bring their talents to support Future Ties, which runs afterschool and summer programming for kids in Parkway Gardens, a Greater Grand Crossing apartment complex “hit particularly hard by gun violence.” (Julia Aizuss)

The Soul of It: Shinemen + American Shoeshine

Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. Friday, May 26, 7pm–9pm. Free. (312) 857-5561.

Black Cinema House presents a shiny double feature. First, Chicago filmmaker Eleva Singleton’s 2015 documentary Shineman looks at the legacy of Chicago shoe-shine entrepreneur Bill Williams, through the lens of local politicians and historians. Then comes American Shoeshine, in which filmmaker Sparky Greene chronicles the shoeshine industry from its early beginnings. Vintage footage and photo stills help tell the story of race and class in society, as will “original Chicago shoe-shine stands” from Theaster Gates’s own collection. (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)

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