Notes & Calendar 8/16/17

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


Rauner Overridden?

This past Sunday, the Illinois Senate voted to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of the General Assembly’s school funding bill. The legislative action now proceeds on to the House, where four Republicans will need to join with all Democrat representatives to pass the original funding bill; despite their budget victory from about a month ago, it’s not clear if Democrats will have the requisite votes for another override this time around. Rauner used his amendatory veto to alter the original bill that had been sent to his desk. Among other things, he allocated $463 million less in funding to CPS than the Illinois legislature’s original plan. (He disputes the number by a cool $200 million, saying the state will, separately, pick up pension costs.) The governor’s attempts to gut CPS’s funding are, to put it mildly, unsurprising—over the weekend, he once again claimed that a more equitable statewide educational system meant moving money out of Chicago’s public schools. Of course, Rauner might be concerned with a different sort of inequality: in the 2014 gubernatorial election, he lost Cook County by thirty percent to Pat Quinn. Meanwhile, with the Bud Billiken parade just behind us, the start of school is quickly approaching without a final budget—the state has already missed its first payment to Illinois’s school districts, scheduled for August 10.

Told You It Was a Mirage

When we last made note of this in May, South Shore’s three-year food desert, resulting from the Dominick’s exodus from Jeffery Plaza, was to be solved by Niles-based grocer Shop & Save reportedly signing a fifteen-year lease. Psych! With the space still vacant three months later, a plan was endorsed by a city commission last Tuesday, according to DNAinfo, to seize the entire 113,300-square-foot shopping mall, through eminent domain, for owner Cannon Commercial’s failure to secure an anchor tenant—particularly a grocery store to replace Dominick’s. By the way, this vacancy is the only location to remain vacant since the chain closed all its Chicago locations. 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston says this is necessary to bring development to the community, but if in 2015 the city council approved the use of eminent domain to seize the shopping center, as reported by DNAinfo, and that authority expires November 2018, what has been going on since 2015? And what is fair to expect going forward? We’re waiting to see, just like you.

Vision Zero Has Zero Vision

Data published by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) last week revealed that the city’s surge in pedestrian traffic fatalities shows no signs of slowing, with twenty-seven such deaths this year to date—one more than last year during the same time period, and nine more than the same time period in 2011. CDOT’s most recent data did not break down the deaths by geographical location, but the vast majority of all pedestrian traffic deaths occur on the South and West Sides; a Tribune analysis of CPD data earlier this year found Ashland Avenue between 43rd and 87th Streets to be the most dangerous street in the city for anyone not behind the wheel. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s adoption of the international Vision Zero traffic safety campaign, whose plan was released this summer, was meant to abate this issue of poor urban design and lax enforcement, but many questions remain if there is any bite behind the city’s bark; thus far, the only tangible result of the campaign in other sites seems to be increased law enforcement for minor biking infractions in low-income communities of color without much bike infrastructure to speak of. As we find ourselves often asking of the mayor’s various programs, what will be the actual final result of the city’s adoption of the Vision Zero campaign? As of yet, it certainly doesn’t mean fewer pedestrian traffic deaths, which is essentially its only goal.



Community Programs Accelerator Application Second Information Session

Community Programs Accelerator, 5225 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Wednesday, August 16, 6pm–7pm. RSVP online. Free.

Join the Community Programs Accelerator at the UofC for their second application information session. The Community Programs Accelerator offers “technical assistance” and networking opportunities for community-based groups. Applications for 2017-2018 will be used to select organizations for the Accelerator’s Core and Associate programs and also provide opportunities for project-based partnerships. Applications will be due by August 25. (Andrew Koski)

Living Your Life Like It’s Golden

BopBiz Center Chatham, 644 E. 79th St. Thursday, August 17, 5:30pm–7pm. $20.

Certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and wellness and motivational coach Shera Strange has begun a series of workshops on health and fitness, beginning with this lecture. Bring something to take notes with, workout clothes, water, and your enthusiasm! (Adia Robinson)

BTGNC Collective Open Membership Hang

The Breathing Room, 1434 W. 51st St. Saturday, August 19, 2pm–6pm.

Formal info sessions about their mission, values, and how to have your voice heard in future organizing will occur at 3:30pm and 5pm, but stop by throughout the afternoon to get to know the Black, Trans, and Gender Nonconforming Collective through games, barbecuing, and more. (Julia Aizuss)

Englewood Speaks

Kusanya Café, 825 W. 69th St. Saturday, August 31, 5pm–6:30pm. Free.

A yearlong series funded by the Acting Up Award from the Chicago Community Trust, Englewood Speaks focuses on community storytelling from all different perspectives. Its first event will feature stories from the Young Men of Englewood, a program facilitated by the neighborhood’s Salvation Army Red Shield Center. (Abigail Bazin)

visual arts

People’s School Workshop: From Journals to Zines, to Murals

The Port Ministries, 5013 S. Hermitage Ave. Wednesday, August 16, 5pm–7pm. Free. (773) 778-5955.

The woman artist collective Mujeres Mutantes and The Port Ministries are offering a workshop for women, fifteen years old and up, who want to learn how to make creative journals, zines, and public art murals “that promote peace and tolerance within our community.” Sign up if you’re interested in filling a sketchbook or wielding a can of spray paint. (Joseph S. Pete)

Pilsen Art Walking Tour

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Friday, August 18, 11am–12pm. Free. Email for more information.

Among many things, Pilsen is known for its vibrant murals, making the entire neighborhood a canvas for local artists. Two community-invested art educators have been leading groups around on foot this summer in “Pilsen Public Art Tours” and explaining large-scale pieces like Hector Duarte’s “Gulliver in Wonderland” at Cullerton Street and Wolcott Avenue. (Joseph S. Pete)

Woman as Warrior

Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St. Opens Friday, August 18, 7pm–10pm. Through October 13. Free.

Dedicated to “the woman who symbolizes a hero among champions,” this nine-person group exhibition curated by Didi Menendez and Sergio Gomez doubles as a publication by Menendez’s collective, PoetsArtists, a physical copy of which will be on sale for twenty dollars. (Julia Aizuss)

Graffiti Jam

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Sunday, August 20, 1pm–4pm. Free. (773) 324-5520.

If you read our Miguel Aguilar profile a few weeks back, now you can see him in action this weekend with Rahmaan Barnes and Liz Lazdins as they paint an “interactive mural” on the HPAC’s walls titled “Children of the Wall.” Hang around for music, an open mic, live painting, and, of course, refreshments—and come back in the future to watch as the graffiti changes over time as a reaction to current events. (Julia Aizuss)


A Dojo Mixed Bag!

The Dojo, message on Facebook for address. Friday, August 18, 7:30pm–1am. $5 donation suggested.

The Dojo is advertising this event as a “mix o’ music,” featuring six bands that range from experimental harp (Yomí) to alternative Latin rock (Rai), but they’re burying the lead: the DIY venue is approaching their two-year anniversary, and the gallery is exhibiting a two-year collection—seek out an old favorite while you’re there. (Julia Aizuss)

Jazz in the Courtyard

Hyde Park Shopping Center, 55th St. and Lake Park Ave. Friday, August 18 and Friday, September 1. Noon–2pm. Free.

Nothing says summer in Hyde Park like the annual free live jazz concerts every first Friday at the Hyde Park Shopping Center. Grab lunch from any of the many restaurants nearby, then sit outside to enjoy the sounds of the Chris Foreman Quintet on August 4, and the Chicago State University Community Jazz Band conducted by Roxanne Stevenson on September 1. (Nicole Bond)

Pilsen Fest

W. 18th St. and S. Blue Island Ave. August 18–20. Friday, 6:30pm; Saturday and Sunday, noon–10pm. Free, $5 donation recommended. (773) 517-1616.

Pilsen Fest returns for the sixth year to celebrate Chicago’s vibrant Latinx and Mexican culture, including theater, cuisine, and the spoken word. Musical headliners include iLe, Nina Sky, Rey Pila, and Nina Diaz. Maestro Héctor Duarte will introduce new art, and the Pilsen Family Encounter project will debut its archive of photos and family stories at the National Museum of Mexican Art. (Joseph S. Pete)

Summer Sunday Concert Series in Nichols Park

Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St. Sundays, 4pm–6pm, through September 17. Free.

Every Sunday is rocking in Nichols Park this summer. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket to catch the last few: country/rock by Six String Crossing on August 20, bluegrass by Tangleweed on August 27, and blues by Billy Flynn on September 3. (Andrew Koski)

Vic Ruggiero and the Chicago Jamaican Jazz Ensemble

Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Thursday, August 24, 8pm. 21+, $10.

Singer, songwriter, and frontman of the Slackers Vic Ruggiero comes to the Music Joint for a performances that will be blend of reggae, blues, ska, and rocksteady. Adding to this multi-genre mix are a few more: the Chicago Jamaican Jazz Ensemble and the DJ Chuck Wren. (Adia Robinson)

Punk Rock & Donuts

Richard J. Daley Library Branch, 3400 S. Halsted St. Saturday, August 26, 2pm–4pm. Free. All ages. (312) 747-8990.

This punk and donuts—punkin’ donuts, if you will—show in Bridgeport features local punk bands UDÜSIC, DECLINE, and Ozzuario, all playing their hearts out in what is usually a library branch dedicated largely to children’s books. As branch manager Jeremy Kitchen told the Weekly when we featured the Punkin’ Donuts series in last year’s Best of the South Side issue, “Like all library programs, it is for all walks of life, and we have had toddlers to seniors show up.” Expect a crowd. (Sam Stecklow)

Kool Moe Dee

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Thursday, August 31. 7pm doors, 8pm show. Tables $35 per seat, $20 general admission. 21+. (312) 801-2100.

Even the Promontory admits on their website that Kool Moe Dee “began to fade by the early ’90s,” but if you want to relive (or live for the first time) hip-hop’s original spats dating back to the eighties, Dee—who was one of the first rappers to win a Grammy, but is perhaps now more famous for his feud with LL Cool J—is at the Promontory next month. (Julia Aizuss)


Lightworks: Sky David’s Experimental Animation

Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Friday, August 18, 7pm–9pm. Outdoors on the roof deck, weather permitting, lawn chairs and refreshments welcome. (773) 324-5520.

Having no prior art making experience, Dennis Pies began creating experimental cinema to handle his return from the Vietnam War. Now known as Sky David, his films are described as “hallucinatory visions of a phantasmagorical landscape etched in light,” full of color and metaphysical symbolism. This free presentation will feature a mix of his most famous and lesser known works. Some imagery may be considered inappropriate for younger audiences. (Nicole Bond)

Eclipse Fest

Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive. Monday, August 21. Eclipse starts at 11:54am and the moon will block eighty-seven percent of the sun at 1:19pm. Free. (312) 922-7827.

You might have heard about this much-hyped eclipse—and what better place to view it than at Chicago’s Eclipse Fest? Billed as the city’s biggest eclipse block party, there will be food trucks, live entertainment, “hands-on science for all ages,” and free admission to the museum, which is staging a contextualizing “Chasing Eclipses” exhibit. (Joseph S. Pete)

Chicagoland Shorts, Volume 3

Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Wednesday, August 23, 7:30pm.$9.50, $7.50 members. (773) 445-3838.

Full Spectrum Features has been curating short work by filmmakers underrepresented in mainstream media, including women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals, for a traveling anthology that’s been shown around the city and country. A Q&A with the filmmakers will take place after the screening. (Joseph S. Pete)

Movies Under the Stars: Charlie Mingus 1968

The Muffler Shop, 359 E. Garfield Blvd. Friday, August 25, 8:30pm–10pm. Free. Grabbing a lawn chair is suggested. (312) 857-5561.

The southwest corner of 55th and King Drive will be aglow during the final screening in this year’s annual Black Cinema House and Chicago Film Archives collaboration of Movies Under the Stars. The documentary feature will chronicle the tumultuous year 1968 in the life of legendary jazz great Charles Mingus, through the keen lenses of three artists: Gordon Parks, William Greaves, and Thomas Reichman. (Nicole Bond)

Black Harvest Film Festival

Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street. Through August 31. Films and show times vary. $11 general admission, $7 students, $6 members unless otherwise noted. (312) 846-2800.

This is the twenty-third year for the festival dedicated to showcasing independent films that tell stories and show images exploring the heritage and experiences of Black people. Many of the screenings will be followed by panel discussions with the filmmakers, directors, or actors, and all films are eligible for the Audience Award—ballots are available in the lobby. With dozens upon dozens of films to see, some notable mentions are: The Chicago Way, written and produced by community organizer and Ceasefire Illinois co-founder Tio Hardiman and the Violence Interrupters, with Gregg Greer of Freedom First International. The film tackles the ongoing battle to make Chicago safe. And Blueprint For Bronzeville, about the fight to maintain affordable housing during Chicago’s ill-fated bid for the 2016 Olympics.  Closing night will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Love Jones, starring Chicago native Larenz Tate and Nia Long. (Nicole Bond)  

Court Theatre Season Tickets on sale

Court Theater, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Subscribe now. Starting at $96 for a three-play package. (773) 753-4472.

The Court Theatre is a cultural gem on the UofC campus that’s staging productions of Five Guys Named Moe, The Belle of Amherst, All My Sons, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and The Originalist in the 2017-2018 season. Season tickets are now on sale, and have perks like up to thirty-five percent off single tickets and two dollars off drinks at the bar. (Joseph S. Pete)

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