Notes & Calendar 6/7/17

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


Everyone Knows Divvy Isn’t for Everyone, Yet

If you caught last week’s piece, “When Will Divvy Be For Everyone?”, or last year’s analysis of Divvy data, then you already know that Divvy has serious issues with accessibility and ridership in underserved communities. Apparently, researchers at Portland State University have also picked up on that. According to Streetsblog Chicago, Divvy and fifty-five other bike-share systems across the U.S. have participated in a study examining the causes of these issues. The researchers echoed the Weekly’s findings from last year: “low station density in less affluent neighborhoods has been a considerable barrier to equitable bike share,” and also noted economic barriers of access and the necessity of outreach programs. This week, the city also announced free adult bike riding classes through Divvy on the South and West Sides, and the Reader reported that Chicago activists have been calling for Divvy to add bikes for people with disabilities. With everybody talking about it, we’re still asking, when will Divvy actually be for everyone?

My Block My Hood My City My Google

According to DNAinfo, tech giant Google has partnered with My Block My Hood My City, the nonprofit founded by Jahmal Cole that provides monthly field trips to help youth with limited access explore culture and foods beyond their neighborhoods. In what is being described by both parties as a mutually beneficial partnership, the youth from underserved communities get technology mentorship and fifty cardboard virtual reality view-finderesque thingies, and Google gets to be able to say they created animated images of places in Chatham, to add to the next batch of view-finderesque thingies. Wait, what? Yup.

Rahm: No Judge, No Problem

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration confirmed last Friday that, contrary to an agreement Emanuel signed in January, the city will not accept federal court oversight over reform of the Chicago Police Department. Instead of establishing a consent decree, the city and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will choose an “independent monitor” to oversee CPD reforms. In December 2015, the DOJ began an investigation into department practices after the release of the video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting. The subsequent DOJ report, which came out in January, affirmed what many have long alleged—that the CPD is plagued by poor training and a lack of accountability for officers’ use of force, particularly against people of color. While the Obama administration had successfully drawn up consent decrees with other city police departments charged with misconduct, the new plan has been condemned by criminal justice experts, officials, and advocates, including Vanita Gupta, the former federal official who oversaw the DOJ’s investigation. Gupta told the Tribune that a department like the CPD, with such deep-rooted misconduct, needs a judge to hold it accountable. Craig Futterman, a UofC law professor involved in making police misconduct information public, also told the Tribune that the agreement is the worst outcome he could imagine: “The memorandum, in many ways, is far worse than just doing nothing, because it is an agreement (with) someone who is not committed to doing anything…It is part of a strategy to avoid doing something real.”

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Westside Justice Center Volunteer Orientation

Westside Justice Center, 601 S. California Ave. Tuesday, June 13, 6pm–9pm. (773) 940-2213.

The Westside Justice Center relies on volunteers like you to continue its work—serving Chicagoland communities, upholding their constitutional rights, and ensuring equitable criminal justice for low-income people. Interested? Come to their volunteer orientation to learn about how you can join their cause. (Michael Wasney).

Gwendolyn Brooks: A Life in Bronzeville Bus Tour

Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Saturday, June 17, 10am–2pm. $25 adults, $15 children (under 18) and seniors (over 65). Registration required. (773) 702-2787.

Next Saturday, the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame contributes its own part to the festivities celebrating the one-hundredth birthday of Gwendolyn Brooks, world-renowned poet and Chicago native. The bus tour takes off at 10am from the Logan Center to visit various noteworthy locations that were significant to Brooks’s life and inspired many of her great works. The bus will return at noon for a reception and sculpture exhibit, followed by a panel discussion at 1pm with Nora Brooks Blakely, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Haki Madhubuti. (Allegra Martin)

Bronzeville Summer Nights 2017 Kick Off

47th St. & Drexel Blvd. to Lake Park Ave. Friday, June 16, 6pm–9pm. (773) 268-7232.

Take a load off during the hot summer nights and hop on a trolley for the fifth annual Bronzeville Summer Nights event series, this year taking place on the same day as the Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour for the first time. Food, culture, and entertainment will wet your palate, offering sights and tastes of what makes Bronzeville one of the many jewels on our side of town. This tour happens every third Friday during the summer months. (Allegra Martin)

OTIS Fresh Farm Volunteer Day

OTIS Fresh Farm, 2616 S. Calumet Ave. Saturday, June 17, 11am–3pm. (708) 581-6847.

Urban farming offers health and economic benefits that deserve more recognition, according to Steve Hughes, organizer of OTIS (Organic Things in Soil) Fresh Farm. Learn about urban agriculture and help cultivate the gardens just south of Mercy Hospital with like-minded gardeners. Come to learn about soil preparation, collecting rain water, a tour of the garden and more. (David Struett)

Harnessing Technology for Future Mobility Forum

IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center, 3201 S. State St. Thursday, June 22, 9am–10:30am.

Self-driving cars are only the beginning of future transportation, according to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, which will be hosting this forum and suggests that climate change and new technology may dramatically alter how we get to places. On-demand buses, vehicles that communicate with one another, and smart infrastructure promise a magical-sounding future, but those technologies may serve to divide us more than bring us together if we’re not careful about their implementation. Join the discussion and think about the frontiers of mobility at this four-person panel. (David Struett)


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)

Symposium: Why is Graffiti?

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Saturday, June 17. 1pm-8pm. Free. (773) 324-5520.

Louder Than a Bomb cofounder Kevin Coval, famed New York graffiti artist Alan Ket, Takin’ All City crew member Pengo Tac, and Fulbright-winning graffiti writer Lavie Raven will discuss what inspires graffiti in conjunction with the “Public School” exhibit. There will be a “spray-and-eat” interactive graffiti BBQ and the unveiling of new video art by Zebadiah Arrington. (Joseph S. Pete)

War of Words by Tubsz

Good Details, LLC, 1840 S. Halsted. Friday, June 9, 6pm-9:30pm.

Join Good Details, LLC in celebration of their one-year anniversary for a solo show by calligraphic/graffiti artist TUBS. TUBS’ work ranges from calligraphy painted on-site to sculpted spray paint cans. (Roderick Sawyer)

DRAWN IN with Oscar Arriola

Elephant Room Gallery, 704 S. Wabash Ave. Thursday, June 15, 6pm-9:30pm.

Artist Oscar Arriola will be hosting the interactive event titled “Drawn In” at the Elephant Room Gallery. Artists will create drawings on-site and wear body cameras to document the event. Confirmed artists include CHema SKandal!, Terrance “Dredske” Byas, Joe “Cujo Dah” Nelson, Ken R. Klopack/Purekreation, Brian Steckel, Anthony “antckone” Lewellen, Jourdon Gullett, and more. (Roderick Sawyer)



The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Thursday, June 8, 6pm doors, 7pm show. $22-$42. 21+. (312) 801-2100.

Started by Johnnie Wilder and his brother Keith Wilder, Heatwave arrived on the music scene as one of the disco era’s funkiest dance groups. Heatwave also includes Spanish bassist Mario Mantese, Czechoslovak drummer Ernest Berger, Eric Johns, to name just a few. Come out to the Promontory to enjoy this one-night performance. (Roderick Sawyer)

The Flat Five

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Friday, June 9. Doors 7pm, show 8pm. $23. (312) 526-3851.

The Flat Five is a “Chicago-based pop vocal super-group” of five harmonizing singers who have worked with heavyweights like Neko Case, the New Pornographers, the Decemberists, Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, and Mavis Staples. Like blurbs on the back cover of a book, such collaborators speak for themselves. (Joseph S. Pete)

Mustard Plug

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Friday, June 9, 7:30pm. $15-$18. (312) 949-0120.

This Friday, the Midwest’s most illustrious third wave ska band, Mustard Plug, comes to Reggies. It’s been twenty years since the release of their third album, Evildoers Beware, and they’ll be celebrating by performing it in full. Mephiskapheles, We Are the Union, and Malafacha will be opening. (Michael Wasney)

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 Chitown 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)


General Auditions for Collaboraction’s Peacebook Festival

Hamilton Park Fieldhouse, 513 W. 72nd St. Saturday, June 10, 10am–3pm, walk-ins welcomed from 11am–3pm. If interested email (312) 226-9633.

Collaboraction, Chicago’s social contemporary theater, is calling all actors, artists, dancers, poets, musicians, and peacemakers for its second annual Peacebook Festival. This arts festival will feature twenty-one pieces of theater, dance, spoken word, music, and more focused on promoting peace in Chicago. All Peacebook shows will perform August 26 at the Goodman, then each piece will perform at one of three Chicago Park District locations throughout the city. Talent are asked to have headshots and resumes and to prepare thirty to sixty seconds of anything to showcase your personality and talent—from monologue to singing to poetry. (Nicole Bond)

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)

Among All This You Stand Like A Fine Brownstone

eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Through Thursday, June 8. Friday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 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)

1 Comment

  1. Very informative tidbits on the What’s Happening on the southside of Chicago. I have my calendar marked and ready.

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