Notes & Calendar 5/9/18


Long Sentences Are Loophole Life Sentences

Six years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that life sentences without parole for crimes committed by juveniles violate the U.S. Constitution; a subsequent case made the ruling retroactive. But an Injustice Watch review found that in Illinois prisons, there are more than 160 people serving fifty years or more for crimes they committed as juveniles who have almost no chance of early release or parole, leaving them likely to die before getting out. It’s a tragic outcome of the Illinois system, where parole is rare and those convicted of murder are required to serve full sentences—regardless of their conduct, rehabilitation, or how old they were when they committed the crime. These are important factors, Injustice Watch points out, because of evidence that child and adolescent brains are underdeveloped and less capable of handling impulses and consequences. In response, courts are increasingly treating youth differently than adults, and advocates are fighting for increased parole eligibility. But the justice system would also do well to consider the difference between children and adults in its use of solitary confinementa recent Chicago Reporter investigation found that Cook County’s use of solitary for juvenile defendants is increasing, despite strong evidence that it can lead to mental health issues and increased aggression in young people.

“Community Commitments,” But Still No CBA

Last Friday, the Obama Foundation issued a series of vague but ambitious promises about the kinds of jobs, housing accessibility, and economic development that the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) will supposedly bring to Woodlawn and the South Side as a whole. This is the closest the Foundation is willing to come to actually signing a Community Benefits Agreement, a move that might actually ensure tangible good for the region surrounding the OPC. Judging by the fact that the Foundation released its “Community Commitments” only days before its meeting with the Chicago Plan Commission—a meeting at which the OPC will be expected to demonstrate public support—the OPC’s promises may be more of a publicity stunt than an actual overture to a worried Woodlawn community. If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that the Foundation’s commitment settles nothing: it’s still to be seen how the city and its agencies (the school and park districts, for example) will develop the unutilized acreage in Woodlawn that they own so much of. It’s also to be seen whether the city really intends to replace the parkland that will be occupied by the OPC by greening Cornell Drive, a move many are calling a bait-and-switch more than a real boon to the community.

Remembering Wilson Frost

Former 34th Ward Alderman Wilson Frost, who worked in Chicago public service for over thirty years, passed away last Saturday at the age of ninety-two. Frost rose to city prominence as the president pro tempore of the city council when, after the December 1976 death of then-mayor Richard J. Daley, Frost declared himself the acting mayor based on his own reading of the city charter. After a bitter political battle, during which it’s rumored Daley’s loyalists locked Frost out of City Hall to prevent him from potentially becoming Chicago’s first Black mayor, the council ultimately rejected his reading; Frost instead became the chairman of the Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Black alderman in Chicago. Many Black politicians today credit him with inspiring their own political careers, praising his “‘Machiavellian’ foresight,” mentorship, and sagacious adages. In response to the news of Frost’s death, the Rev. Jesse Jackson noted that Frost would have been “a fine mayor.” “He was ready,” Jackson told the Tribune. “The machine wasn’t ready.”



On The Table: Violence As A Health Issue


Chicago Family Health Center, 9119 S. Exchange Ave. 2nd Floor. Thursday, May 10, 8am–10am. Free. (773) 768-5000.

The ripple effects of violence go far beyond individuals, reaching their families, friends, and neighbors. Join the Chicago Family Health Center and Chicago Community Trust for an “On The Table” conversation about the impact of violence on community health. Breakfast included. (Hafsa Razi)

“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)

Write It Out

Little Black Pearl Workshop, 1060 E. 47th St. Wednesday, May 16, 4:30pm–7pm. Free for high schoolers. (773) 690-5500.

K Love and Harold Green teach a writing workshop to Chicago high schoolers every third Wednesday at Little Black Pearl, where the students can take part in an open mic, hear a DJ, sample food and drink from the Carver 47 juice bar, and enjoy a sense of community. They promise the featured youth artist will be “mind-blowing.” (Joseph S. Pete)

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)


The World’s Fair 2018 at Native Foods

Native Foods Café, 1518 E. Harper Ct. Friday, May 11, 4pm–9pm.

What’s better than the 1893 World’s Fair that was held in Jackson Park? The World’s Fair that’s being held at Native Foods! This World’s Fair will be an exhibition in late June showcasing local musicians, artists, and organizers. Dine at Native Foods and meet some of the participants while enjoying fresh vegan cuisine. Twenty percent of proceeds will go to support The World’s Fair. (Sam Joyce)

Outdoor 61st Street Farmers Market

6100 S. Blackstone Ave. Saturday, May 12, 9am–2pm. Free. (773) 241-6044.

It’s finally springtime, and your favorite Chicagoland farmers, bakers, pizza-makers, and honeymeisters are getting ready for the outdoor farmers market season. We’re not biased or anything, but we suspect that they’re most excited about the 61st Street Market. As always, all LINK purchases are matched up to $25. (Emeline Posner)

Chicago River Day

Multiple locations. Saturday, May 12, 9am–noon. Free. Registration required. (312) 939-0490.

Friends of the Chicago River will host their twenty-sixth annual volunteer day at sixty locations along the Chicago River. Volunteers will work to remove garbage, plant native seedlings, and clean up the river. Tools, gloves, and free t-shirt provided. (Sam Joyce)

Pullman Grows Green Week Kickoff

The Cooperation Operation, 657 E. 114th St. May 12, 10am–noon. (773) 878-7378. Contact at

Advocates for Urban Agriculture, Houseful of Nicholes and the Midwest Pesticide Action Center will teach you how to grow organic produce without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers at this Chicago Grows Green Week event. Interactive games will give attendees hands-on experience with growing a healthful, pesticide-free harvest. (Joseph S. Pete)

Foraged Foods for Female Health

The Plant, 1400 W. 46th St. Saturday, May 12, 10:30am–12:30pm. $35, which includes foraged lunch. Buy tickets at (773) 847-5523.

Visual artist, permaculture designer, and forager Nina Lawrin will walk workshop participants through the basics of foraging wild edible plants, specifically those that can assist female hormonal health cycles. Takeaways include recipes for various hormonal phases, foraged vinegar, and instructions for identifying plants. (Leah Menzer)

The Psychology of Food

Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd. Saturday, May 12, 1pm–3pm. (773) 268-7500.

Zarakyah Ben Sar Ahmadiel, graduate of Roosevelt University’s Sustainability Studies program and founder of the Peace Diet Program, which promotes healthy foods in schools, will lead a lecture and discussion on nutrition and wellbeing. The event is sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists. (Tammy Xu)

Planting Day at El Paseo

El Paseo Community Garden, 944 W. 21st St. Saturday, May 19, 10am–2pm.

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)


Rear View Mirror Sessions: Patti LaBelle  

Arts + Public Life, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. Thursday, May 10, 6pm–9pm. Free, RSVP at (773) 702-9724.

For the second installation of his Rear View Mirror series, Duane Powell will discuss the legacy of soprano superstar (and sweet potato pie saleswoman) Patti LaBelle. Stop by for a look at the diva’s rich back catalogue. (Christopher Good)

Funk Party 15

Rutcorp. Email for address and RSVP. Friday, May 11, doors 8:30pm. $20 (early bird and presale sold out).

If you want a sense for Alex Wasily’s appeal, just look at his collaborators: he may be the only trombonist to work with the Isley Brothers and 2 Live Crew. His own Very Good Band—yes, that’s the name—will be joined by the LowDown Brass Band and DJ Mr. Gac. (Christopher Good)

WHPK Summer Breeze

The Grand Ballroom, 6351 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Saturday, May 12, noon–5pm. Free. (773) 702-8424.

Eclectic community radio station and “Pride of the South Side” WHPK 88.5 FM broadcasts every musical genre under the sun from its Hyde Park home. On Saturday, the station will host Ken Allison and The Twist Blues Band, Dee “The High Priestess of Love” Robinson, Scarlett Parks, the Barry Fontenot Band, and Health & Beauty for its annual Summer Breeze concert. (Joseph S. Pete)

Rails – Saturday Soiree Day Party

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Saturday May 12, doors 4pm. 21+, $5 from 4–6pm, $10 after 6pm.

Join the soiree for good cocktails, great company, and even better music. The Promontory’s own “Minister of Music,” DJ Superman, will be spinning “DEM BEATZ!” for everyone to enjoy on the rooftop (weather permitting). (Soulet Ali)

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)


Rabbit-Proof Fence

Black Cinema House, 1456 E. 70th St. Friday, May 18th, 7:30pm–10pm. Free. (312) 857-5561.

First-time Aboriginal actresses star in this film adapted from indigenous author Doris Pilkington Garimara’s novel, which tells the true story of three forcibly relocated girls who ran away from a native settlement and walked 1,500 miles along the Australian rabbit-proof fence while pursued by authorities to return to their community. (Joseph S. Pete)

The Aliens

Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. May 17–18, 7:30pm; May 19, 2pm and 7:30pm. $6 in advance, $8 at the door. (773) 702-9315.

A teenage barista befriends two eccentric artists and bandmates who bum around his coffee shop in an Annie Baker play that explores “mental illness, drugs and the unexplained nature of beauty.” Emily Lynch directs the Obie Award-winning play, which is punctuated with realistic silences and moments of alienation. (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)

Anton in Show Business

University Church, 5655 S. University Ave. Various dates May 11–13 and 18–20. $10–$12 advance and $12–$15 at door, except May 11 preview (pay what you can).

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. (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)

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