Closing Schools Lowers Grades, Rahm

In the months leading up to the 2013 mass school closings, Chicago Public Schools officials emphasized the utilization of pre-existing schools, promising to close schools because they were inefficient and half-empty, not necessarily because they were bad schools. In December 2012, then-CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said herself that “academic performance is not on the table at this time.” But as time went on, it became clear that the academic quality of closing and receiving schools was on the district’s mind. In March 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the goal was not to save money, but “[for] a child to have a high quality education.” This may have been cover for the fact that the closings would likely not save as much money as they were supposed to, as WBEZ reported in 2013. But a new study from the University of Chicago’s Consortium on School Research shows that the promised academic improvements did not appear either. Students from closed schools fell behind their peers in math and reading scores, with the math gap persisting for four years. Their GPAs in core subjects also remained lower than expected.

CPS has had plenty of warning. Nearly ten years ago, another Consortium study on school closings in the early 2000s found academic improvements among displaced students who moved to the district’s best-rated schools, but students who were moved to lower-rated schools suffered. The district relied on these findings to say things would be different this time—this time, every student from a closing school would be matched with a “higher-performing” welcoming school. But how much better? A 2015 Consortium report showed that while over ninety percent of students from schools closed in 2013 ended up at better-performing schools, only about twenty percent went to Level 1 schools—far more students ended up at the district’s lowest-rated schools. A half-hearted effort, it appears, wasn’t enough.

Mum’s the Word

We all figured the controversy around Pusha T’s new album would end with Kanye West’s decision to blow $85,000 licensing a photo of Whitney Houston’s bathroom for the cover. But life, as they say, comes at you fast. When a diss from Pusha prompted Drake to invoice G.O.O.D Music for $100,000, South Side rapper, organizer, and one-time aldermanic candidate (and longtime West co-writer) Rhymefest took the opportunity to ask Drake to support Donda’s House, the charity he and his wife Donnie Smith co-founded with West and run in West’s late mother’s name. Why? Because according to Rhymefest, the only support West had to offer was “fuck the youth of Chicago.” Under Rhymefest, Donda’s House has supported South Side youth with open mics and artist lectures, even through funding struggles partially caused by the state budget crisis. But that didn’t keep Kim Kardashian West from launching a brutal Twitter offensive against him, threatening to oust him from leadership of the nonprofit (and questioning the authenticity of his Yeezys). As it stands, Donda’s House has announced it will be changing its name, while former members have come forward with recordings of Rhymefest “ranting about hating Kanye.” West, for his part, has done the near-impossible and shut up.



Intuitive Music w/ Kahil El’Zabar, Markus Stockhausen, Florian Weber

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Friday, June 1, doors 6:30pm, show 7pm. $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. (312) 801-2100.

With support from the Goethe-Institut and Fulcrum Point, a Chicago-based “new music project,” the Promontory has curated one of its most avant-garde lineups to date. Composer and trumpeter Markus Stockhausen (no, not that one) and pianist Florian Weber will compromise the “Inside Out” duo, alongside saxophonist David Murray and renowned South Side percussionist/polyglot Kahil El’Zabar. (Christopher Good)

D-Erania at Friday Jazz at the New Quarry

The Quarry, 2423 E. 75th St. Fridays, 6pm. $10 cover, free parking. (773) 663-2557. Email for tickets.

Local organizations Real Men Charities, Inc. and Home Tone Productions are representing South Side talent with a new jazz concert series at the Quarry. Prior evenings have featured the Theodis Rodgers Trio and Julia Huff, but this week’s act is the recognized saxophonist, pianist, and songwriter D-Erania. (Christopher Good)

SpellCaster Tour w/ Pals

MoySpace, 502 W. 28th St. Saturday, June 2, doors 8pm, show 9pm–midnight. $5 at door. Merch available, BYOB.

Want your Saturday to be high-energy and low poly-count? Two Chicago acts—breakcore/glitch DJ Microcolossus and chiptune “squarewave archmage” VenoSci—will hit MoySpace as a stop on their “Spellcaster Tour.” The lineup also includes [Brackets], Low Poly Prince, and Arena Girlfriend in their live debut. (Christopher Good)


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

As if you needed another reason to stop by Maria’s. As always, Brunch-Ski will offer plenty of food and way too much drink, but this latest installation will feature a half-dozen house DJs on the sound system, including Russoul, Andrew Emil, and Karl Almaria. (Christopher Good)

Soul-Frica Sundays

Renaissance Bronzeville, 4641 S. King Dr. Sundays, 7pm. No cover. (773) 690-5416.

End your week right and dance the night away in Bronzeville. Resident DJs Terry Hunter and Greg Winfeld—each with a formidable history in Chicago’s house scene—will spin soul, R&B, and whatever else gets the people moving. (Christopher Good)


Follow the Money: Race, Voice, and Funding Education in Chicago

National Teachers Academy, 55 W. Cermak Rd. Wednesday, May 30, 6pm–8pm. Free.

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum hosts this “youth-led, intergenerational workshop” with Free Street Theater on the slated-for-closure NTA campus. Explore what the city and CPS currently funds, and chooses not to fund. (Sam Stecklow)

iMentor Community Open House

The Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd St. Thursday, May 31, 5:30pm–8pm. 21+. Free. (312) 219-8800.

iMentor matches Chicago high school students with college grads to help guide students through high school and into college. At this open house, come learn how you can become a champion for students and help them realize their dreams. (Adia Robinson)

Nos Llevan: Fundraiser for La 72 Migrant and Refugee Shelter

Citlalin Art Gallery Theater, 2005 S. Blue Island Ave. Thursday, May 31, 7pm–11:59pm.

Come out to the Citlalin Gallery for a night of music, food, dancing, and discussion to support the Tabasco, Mexico–based refugee shelter La72. A panel discussion will be facilitated by poet and public policy strategist Elisabet Barrios and NPR reporter Maria Hinojosa. Ivan Resendiz and Besitos will be performing. (Adia Robinson)

Henry L. English Empowerment Expo

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr. Sunday, June 3, noon–4pm. (773) 324-0494.

Continuing the legacy of Henry L. English, the founder of the Black United Fund of Illinois, this expo is designed to inform, educate, and inspire. Come for dance performances, presentations on local nonprofits, and panels on everything from job opportunities to mental healthcare to financial literacy. (Adia Robinson)

Chicago Free Black Women’s Library 2018 Pop-up

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Saturday, June 9, 10am–4pm. Free.

For the fourth time, a small group of Black women is hosting a celebration of books written by and about Black women and girls. As part of the celebration, there will be a day of healing sessions, workshops, and teach-ins. To donate books, drop them off at the UIC Women’s Leadership & Research Center or the Hyde Park Art Center or mail them to UIC. (Sam Stecklow)

Englewood Father’s March

Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine Ave., baseball field 1. Saturday, June 16, 10am–3pm. (312)-586-0752.

With this march, Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club hopes to bring together fathers and other role models from across the city to show the strength of acting as a community and to take action against the problems in our neighborhoods. Bring your whole family: there will be free food and games for the kids. (Adia Robinson)


Beaubien Woods Celebration

Beaubien Forest Preserve. Saturday, June 9, 11am–3pm. Free. All fishing participants sixteen years or older must have valid Illinois fishing license. Register at

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is hosting its annual celebration at Beaubien Woods, a verdant forest located near the Little Calumet River and Flatfoot Lake, and home to a diverse array of critters. At the festival, families can enjoy fishing, canoeing, archery, and other activities in one of Illinois’s beautiful natural landscapes. (Rachel Kim)

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)

Healthy Food Hub

Chatham Academy High School, 9035 S. Langley Ave. Every Saturday beginning June 2 until June 30, 11am–3pm. (708) 405-9476.

Healthy Food Hub’s farmers markets will make their triumphant return this June in Chatham, where they will serve local, organic, and affordable produce along with food prep demonstrations and tastings. The markets support LINK MATCH coupons, cash, or credit. (Rachel Kim)

Parks as Contested Spaces

Arts + Public Life, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. Wednesday, June 6, 6:30pm–8pm. Free. (773) 702-9724. RSVP on

Alongside the “Everyday Resistance: The Art of Living in Black Chicago” exhibit, Arts + Public Life is hosting a conversation with Meida Teresa McNeal, arts and culture manager with the Chicago Park District, and Gia Biagi, principal of urbanism and civil impact at Studio Gang, to discuss the roles public parks play in their communities and how “use, access, safety, and leisure” shift along racial lines. (Rachel Kim)

Our Journey North

35th Street Pedestrian Bridge (East Side), 636 E. 35th St. Saturday, June 9, 9am–2pm. Breakfast, lunch, garden gloves, and tools provided. Bring bottled water and wear closed-toe shoes. Register at (312) 869-9546.

Monarch butterflies, who represent migration, liberation, and beauty, will symbolize the Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab’s “day rooted in stewardship and cultural celebration.” The Lab is recruiting volunteers to help build a butterfly habitat near the lake that will serve as a communal space for building stronger Black and Latinx communities. (Rachel Kim)

Growing Home’s Summer Block Party

Wood Street Urban Farm, 5814 S. Wood St. to 59th St. Saturday, June 9, 11am3pm. Free for residents of Greater Englewood. Suggested donation $10 for those living outside of Greater Englewood. (773) 434-7144.

Growing Home Inc. is throwing its annual summer block party at Wood Street Urban Farm, which will provide tours, food, music, children’s’ activities, a bouncy house, and “the best produce Chicago has to offer.” (Rachel Kim)

Couples: Secrets, Truths and Love


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


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


Generation Revolution


Black Cinema House, 1456 E. 70th St. Friday, June 1. 7:30pm–10pm. Free. (312) 857-5561.


The 2016 British documentary by directors Cassie Quarless and Usayd Younis about the London Black Revolutionaries, R Movement, and The Black Dissidents dramatizes their fight against oppression. Dubbing them the “new generation of black and brown activists,” the film makes the political personal. There’s a discussion after the free screening. (Joseph S. Pete)

‘Black Panther’ @ Doc Films

Doc Films, Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. Saturday June 2, 7pm and 9:30pm. Sunday, June 3, 4pm. General admission $5. (773) 702-8574.

The days of “Literally Dozens of Screenings ofBlack Panther</i>” are over—if you missed the record-breaking Black-led superhero movie during its release earlier this year, or if you want see it on the big screen again, catch the showings at Doc Films this weekend. (Katie Gruber)

The Theater Project: ‘Glock (Mauser)’

South Side locations: Sherman Park Public Library, 5440 S. Racine Ave. Monday, June 4, 6:30pm. The Floods Studios, southwest corner of W. 19th St & S. Paulina St. Saturday, June 30, 8pm. Free.

Glock (Mauser), directed by UofC PhD student Noah Zeldin, is a modern-day adaptation of East German playwright Heiner Müller’s play Mauser, a Lehrstücke or “learning piece” that examines the role of violence and revolutionary change during the Russian Civil War. Zeldin’s play is staged to contemplate contemporary Chicago’s violence and crime as symptoms of larger national problems. (Nicole Bond)

Brooksday 2018

The Arts Incubator at the University of Chicago, 301 E. Garfield Blvd., and Gwendolyn Brooks Park, 4542 S. Greenwood Ave. Thursday, June 7, 3pm-5pm and 6pm-8pm. (877) 394-5061.

Celebrate Gwendolyn Brooks, the South Side’s favorite hometown poet, at this annual festival of her work and life. This year’s will feature readings from luminaries including her daughter Nora Brooks Blakely, legendary activist Bill Ayers, and the Weekly’s own Nicole Bond, including many others. After the initial celebration, there will be a special unveiling of a new statue of Brooks at Gwendolyn Brooks Park in Bronzeville—all in all, a can’t-miss Brooksday. (Sam Stecklow)

Open Television Premieres: New Black TV

Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, 1456 E. 70th St. Friday, June 8, 7:30pm–10pm. Free. (312) 857-5561.

OTV, a platform that supports experimental alternatives to traditional television, will screen a variety of its ongoing independent pilot projects, film shorts, television series, and webseries from Chicago artists at Black Cinema House. If you liked OTV hits Brown Girls and Brujos, you’re in the right place. (Nicole Bond)

The Originalist

Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Through June 10. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, 7:30pm–9:30pm; Friday and Saturday, 8pm–10pm; Sunday matinee, 2:30pm–4:30pm. $38 and up. Senior and student discounts available. (773) 753-4472.

MacArthur Award-winning writer John Strand has debuted a new play in Chicago. 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)

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 Education. (Soulet Ali)


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.