Notes & Calendar 5/31/17

A week’s worth of developing plants, odd animals, and signs of the weather, culled from the strolls, hikes, and wandering eyes of the editors


Ain’t That a Bench

According to the Trust for Public Land—a nonprofit that provides funding for the creation of parks and protected lands, and also releases an annual ParkScore Index rating city parks on their features and accessibility—Chicago city parks are moving on up. The Windy City received four of a possible five “park benches” and a total score of seventy-one to claim the nation’s number eleven spot for best city parks.  This is a four-spot jump from the previous fifteenth place ranking. The ParkScore data shows ninety-seven percent of Chicagoans live within a ten-minute walk of a park. However, Mayor Emauel, who boasts of the parks as one the city’s greatest assets for tourists remains oblivious to the possibility that the remaining three percent of Chicagoans who do not live within a ten-minute walk of a park may actually live in the park. But that information was not factored into the data.

Make Way for Turtles

The turtles are on the move. This spring, there’s a good chance you’ll see one on or near a busy Chicago street as the reptiles begin to lay their eggs. Since a city street’s shoulder has the right soil type and frequent sunlight, turtles sometimes lay eggs near roadways, according to DNAinfo. Turtles usually lay between eight and fourteen eggs, with productivity dropping as their age increases. The eggs laid this month will either hatch in September or October, or they’ll incubate for a full year and hatch next May. There is no exact count of the number of turtles within city limits, but they can be found in any area with a waterway, including Jackson Park, Gompers Park, Humboldt Park, Lincoln Park, Garfield Park, Powderhorn Marsh and Prairie, Eggers Woods, and LaBagh Woods. Turtles’ presence in these areas presents a danger to turtles and drivers alike. Organizations like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are circulating tips for helping turtles safely cross the streets.

Rich Squirrel, Poor Squirrel

Why would a squirrel choose one neighborhood to live in over another? According to Joel Brown, a biologist at UIC who studies squirrels in Chicago, the city’s two species of squirrel don’t tend to live in the same areas. Gray squirrels, as Brown told Marcus Kronforst, the host of WTTW’s Urban Nature web series, are most common in wealthier urban neighborhoods, while fox squirrels predominate in less affluent urban areas. Squirrels obviously aren’t aware of socioeconomic factors when they decide to live in an area, so something else must be driving this pattern. After analyzing data collected by citizen scientists on a website he set up called Project Squirrel, Brown uncovered some interesting findings—fox squirrels are actually most common in the far suburbs, and his team concluded that the presence of predators—such as outdoor cats, dogs, or even coyotes—in an area was the variable that best explained where gray and fox squirrels live. Fox squirrels spook less easy than gray squirrels, so they’ll live in areas where encounters with predators are more likely; however, in the absence of predators, gray squirrels will outcompete fox squirrels for resources.

Backyard Birders

Although the thirteen-acre Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary is “widely considered the best place in Illinois to view spring migration,” according to a recent WTTW article, students from Ruiz Elementary near Little Village recently proved that you can see tons of migrating birds in all kinds of other places in the city too. John Cawood, Openlands’ Education Program Coordinator, told DNAinfo, “It’s amazing to see what groups like Ruiz are seeing in our urban parks during their field trips. McKinley Park isn’t exactly known for being a birding hotspot.” As part of the Birds In My Neighborhood program, Chicago elementary schoolers learn about the birds in the neighborhoods around their schools in partnership with Openlands and Audubon Great Lakes.  The Ruiz Elementary students spotted forty-five different birds—from the pied-billed grebe to the rose-breasted grosbeak—on an outing in McKinley Park.



National Trails Day

Burnham Wildlife Corridor, check the website for meeting addresses. Saturday, June 3, 10am–12pm.

Help restore nature trails near the gathering spaces of the Burnham Wildlife Corridor, the one-hundred-acre strip of lakefront public green space running from McCormick Place to 47th Street. Volunteers will be provided with tools and gloves—and the chance to learn more about new changes to the corridor. (David Struett)

Telling Our Stories Workshop

Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church, 8100 S. Calumet Ave. Saturday, June 3, 10am–2:30pm. Free.

Storytelling lets us pass down truths and articulate our experiences and hopes. Learn how to tell your own story with presentations by WBEZ’s Natalie Moore and writers Elizabeth Rivera and Kevin Coval. Come by, whether young or old—kids ages eleven to seventeen will attend a different workshop than adults. (David Struett)

Putting Me 1st Sundays with Sandria: Community Yoga

Bronzeville Incubator, 300 E. 51st St. Sunday, June 4, 11am–12:15pm. Free. (312) 256-7137.

Treat yourself to a fresh start this summer with free yoga sessions by certified instructor Sandria Washington. Washington has partnered with GirlTrek, the largest nonprofit focused on health among African-American women and girls, to put on this event. Beginners are invited, and be sure to bring your mat. (David Struett)

The Road to Abolition: Workshop on Prison Industrial Complex

American Friends Service Committee, 637 S. Dearborn St. Thursday, June 8, 6pm–9pm.

Jess Heaney, an organizer with Critical Resistance, will lead an introductory workshop on prison industrial complex abolition. Hosted by the Chicago Community Bond Fund, this event is co-sponsored by Assata’s Daughters, Black Lives Matter Chicago, Invisible 2 Invincible: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago, Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), and more. Light refreshments will be provided. (Rod Sawyer)

So Fresh Saturday Tour

Lindblom Park, 6054 S. Damen Ave. Saturday, June 3, 3pm–7pm. (866) 845-1032.

Now back for its fifth year, join the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) for this free, family-friendly, and resident-driven festival. There will be performances, workshops, and various resources available—and R.A.G.E is still looking for more performers and participants. (Rod Sawyer)


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 two weeks ago, 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)

Out & Out with QPOC: Queer Storytelling

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Thursday, June 1, 6pm–8pm. (773) 324-5520.

QPOC DePaul, a student organization providing space for queer people of color at DePaul, presents a night of “unapologetic queerness” in this storytelling event. This night will be full of both visual and performance art that shows the lived experience of queer people of color. (Adia Robinson)

Young, Latinx & Proud: Latinx Uniting for Real Justice

Rudy Lozano Chicago Public Library, 1805 S. Loomis St. Saturday, June 3, 1pm–2:30pm.

Join the group Young, Latinx & Proud (YLP) as they host this event to build a platform for justice and radical transformation. YLP strives to build solidarity and empower those of the Latinx community, as well as to engage in dialogue with fellow marginalized communities. (Roderick Sawyer)

First Saturdays at Mana

Mana Contemporary, 2233 S. Throop St. Saturday, June 3, 1pm–4pm. (312) 850-0555.

This month, Mana Contemporary’s First Saturdays debuts a variety of new work: aside from select open studios, visitors can watch three video installations from the Body + Camera Festival, listen to an artist talk at 2pm with Zakkiyyah Najeebah, and view High Concept Labs’s featured artist Andy Slater perform his Sound as Sight project. (Julia Aizuss)

We Real Cool: A Celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks’s 100th Birthday

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Monday, June 5, 6:30pm–7:30pm.

View the premiere of Manual Cinema’s video honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. This event will be held close to the one-hundredth birthday of Brooks (June 7, 1917). Manual Cinema’s video uses illuminative paper-cut puppetry to embody Brooks’s landmark poem “We Real Cool,” and serves as a companion to an upcoming live production about Brooks. (Rod Sawyer)



The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Friday, June 2, 10pm. $15-$40. 21+. (312) 801-2100.

Flashback First Friday is presenting DJ Maseo, a rapper and DJ who is one of the three members of hip-hop group, De La Soul. Maseo will be performing with Joe Kollege and Mark Flava, two other DJs. Guests have the option to book a five-person VIP table that includes bottle service for $350. (Mira Chauhan)

The Dwarves and JFA

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Friday, June 2, 8pm. $20 in advance; $25 day of show. 17+. (312) 949-0120.

Experience two firsts in this Friday’s hardcore show at Reggies: the Dwarves playing the entirety of their thirteen-track 1997 album “The Dwarves are Young and Good Looking” live for the first time, and JFA’s first performance in Chicago in twenty years. (Adia Robinson)

Birds of Chicago

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Wednesday May 31, 6:30pm doors, 7:30pm show. $22 in advance; $25 day of show. (312) 526-3851.

Can’t get enough of Chicago birds? Come on down to Thalia Hall for a night of music from some Chicago birds of a different feather. For Birds of Chicago, “every note counts.” This collective, built around Allison Russel and JT Nero, uses “elemental imagery” and a music style drawn from gospel to make its audience feel a wash of emotion. Experience this and an opening set from Frazey Ford this Wednesday. (Adia Robinson)

Los Punks Tambien Bailan

The Dojo, send Facebook message for address. Saturday, June 10, 8pm–12am. Donation suggested.

To raise funds for this year’s Black and Brown Punk Show, which will take place at Pilsen’s Chi-Futbol Arena in August, the Dojo will be hosting a night of music and much more. Hear the punk sounds of Los MF Mariachis, thrash metal by Reign, and Sonidero y Mas by DJ Solmeca, check out a dance performance by Mz Mr and art installations by Sebastián Hidalgo and Katia Perez, watch a live mural painting by Alvaro Zavala, and peruse the tabling vendors. There will also be tamales, jerk chicken tacos, and a cash bar featuring wine and margaritas. (Andrew Koski)


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)

Brooks Day@Nite: Praise & Jubilation

Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Wednesday, June 7, 6pm. Free, tickets reserved in advance recommended. (773) 324-4844.

Join in the centennial birthday celebration of the U.S.’s first Black Pulitzer Prize–winner for literature, as well as Illinois’s most longstanding poet laureate, the one and only Gwendolyn Brooks. BrooksDay@Nite is the culmination of an entire year of literary events honoring the rich life and legacy of the South Side’s own cultural treasure, Our Miss Brooks. Friends and fans will gather as one hundred presenters (including the Weekly’s own Stage and Screen Editor) share a variety of one-minute presentations ranging from poetry readings to dance, visual arts, and digital crafts. Some of the other featured presenters include Haki Madhubuti, Patricia Smith, Nora Brooks Blakely, Nate Marshall, and Maggie Brown. And yes, it is a birthday celebration, so there will be cake! (Nicole Bond)

An Evening at the Pekin Theater

Northwest corner of 27th St. and S. State St. Saturday, June 17, 7pm. Free, RSVP required. (312) 422-5580.

Reconvene nearly 112 years to the day of Chicago’s famed Pekin Theater’s first live performance. Nicknamed the “Temple of Music,” the Pekin Theater was the first Black-owned and -operated stock theater company in the U.S. The Pekin’s first all-Black show, the first in Chicago, opened to a crowd of about 400 on June 18, 1905. This live outdoor concert, featuring award-winning pianist Reginald Robinson and directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce, will reimagine the golden ragtime era in the heart of Bronzeville. (Nicole Bond)

Moonlight at the Beverly Arts Cinema Center

Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Wednesday, June 7, 7pm. $9.50, members $7.50. (773) 445-3838.

This week BAC Film Coordinator Jonathan Moeller will be hosting a screening of the Academy Award–winning Best Picture of 2016, Moonlight. This moving coming-of-age story chronicles the life of a gay African-American man growing up in Miami—if you still haven’t yet seen it, now is the time. (Roderick Sawyer)

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 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)

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. Through 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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