Friday, June 23, 2017

Chicago Zombie March, Logan Square Arts Festival, and more things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 06.23.17 at 04:11 PM

Join the search for braaaaaaaaains at the Chicago Zombie March on Saturday 6/24. - VIA CHICAGO ZOMBIE MARCH FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Via Chicago Zombie March Facebook page
  • Join the search for braaaaaaaaains at the Chicago Zombie March on Saturday 6/24.

Whether you're in the mood for an original musical comedy about William Henry Harrison or have an affinity for mariachi music, there are great events to try this weekend:

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Steppenwolf releases ‘official statement’ on Hedy Weiss review uproar

Posted By on 06.23.17 at 04:01 PM

  • Rich Hein / Sun-Times
  • Hedy Weiss

Last week, after Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss's review of Antoinette Nwandu's Pass Over sparked an Internet uproar and drew thousands of signatures on an online petition, Steppenwolf Theatre artistic director Anna D. Shapiro and executive director David Schmitz issued a statement on behalf of the company accusing Weiss of "deep-seated bigotry."  They also promised that "an official institutional response" would follow.

Today, that official response arrived, notably more nuanced.  Steppenwolf is now calling for "ongoing community-wide dialogue," and says it will be
"eager to participate."

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Next week saxophonist Dave Rempis plays solo and leads a full-band performance of a South African jazz classic

Posted By on 06.23.17 at 02:00 PM

Saxophonist Dave Rempis is one of Chicago's fieriest, most intense improvisers, whether he's forging connections with new collaborators or strengthening his intuitive bonds with old ones. With his seemingly boundless energy, he's one of the loudest horn men I've ever heard, but he's also capable of great sensitivity, not only playing with exquisite delicacy but also listening carefully and responding sensitively to his cohorts. Since February he's spent much of 2017 on the road, traveling the midwest, west coast, and deep south to hone his solo practice with a project he calls Lattice—he plans to release a solo album culled from tour recordings this fall on his own Aerophonic label.

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Rauner rejects Emanuel's massive Thompson Center offer, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 06.23.17 at 06:00 AM

The lobby of the Thompson Center in 2015 - RICH HEIN/SUN-TIMES
  • Rich Hein/Sun-Times
  • The lobby of the Thompson Center in 2015

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, June 23, 2017. Have a great weekend!

  • Rauner rejects Emanuel's massive Thompson Center offer

Despite his repeated calls for its sale and redevelopment, Governor Bruce Rauner has rejected Mayor Rahm Emanuel's offer "to clear the way for construction of an enormous 2 million-square-foot office tower where the aging Thompson Center now stands," according to Crain's Chicago Business. The governor reportedly wants "a free hand" to have the state-owned facility be replaced by a building approaching the size of the Willis Tower, and he was unwilling to address a city pension bill pushed by Emanuel in exchange for the deal, instead urging the mayor to pressure house speaker Michael Madigan for concessions on a statewide pension bill. Even house Republican leader Jim Durkin intervened, urging Rauner to compromise. "I think the governor has missed an excellent opportunity," Democratic alderman Brendan Reilly told Crain's. "For the life of me, I can't understand why." [Crain's Chicago Business]

  • Durbin slams Senate GOP health-care plan: "You can put a lace collar on a pit bull and it's still a mean dog"

Senator Dick Durbin slammed the Senate Republicans' new health-care bill Thursday, saying, "You can put a lace collar on a pit bull and it's still a mean dog." Republican senators have been trying to claim that its newly released draft legislation is not as "mean" as even President Trump at one point proclaimed the House version to be, but that's not true, according to Durbin. His fellow Democratic senator, Tammy Duckworth, noted that the Senate version includes "massive tax cuts to Trump's billionaire friends" and would force "millions of working Americans to pay more for less care." [Tribune]

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

It’s the end of the world at the Museum of Science and Industry and we feel fine

Posted By on 06.22.17 at 03:42 PM

The original cover design that started it all. - MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • The original cover design that started it all.

It seems slightly unbelievable now, but the scientists who developed the nuclear bomb didn't want it to be used in an actual war. After the first test bomb exploded in New Mexico in July, 1945, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the head of the Los Alamos lab, said he was reminded of a quote from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." Later that month, 70 scientists who'd worked on the Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the bomb, signed a petition begging President Truman not to use it against the Japanese.

Well, we all know how that went.

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Terminal cancer—and the band Toto—is bringing my family together for my parents’ last date

Posted By on 06.22.17 at 01:20 PM

As a baby with my parents, Mark and Jan Smith, in 1977
  • As a baby with my parents, Mark and Jan Smith, in 1977

I was only mildly aware of the band Toto on the Tuesday in May when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I'm a child of the 80s, and we all know at least "Africa." It was an omnipresent hit in the early days of MTV, when music videos were low-budget affairs: usually stitched-together concert footage, surrealistic short films, or a disjointed combination of the two.

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Is The Book of Henry really that bad?

Posted By on 06.22.17 at 12:56 PM

The Book of Henry
  • The Book of Henry

The Book of Henry
, a peculiar drama directed by Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed, Jurassic World) from a script by novelist Gregg Hurwitz, opened last weekend to generally negative reviews, with some critics proclaiming it a disaster. I don't disagree that the film is confused and needlessly sentimental, yet I consider it a provocative failure—more interesting to think about than a predictable success like Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake (which is currently playing at the Music Box). The Book of Henry features an ambitious narrative structure that keeps viewers on their toes, and its premise is strange enough to hold one's interest (if never one's sense of disbelief) for the entire running time. It's major failing may be that Hurwitz and Trevorrow don't organize their ideas around a graspable theme; the movie plays according to a nebulous logic, never settling on a recognizable point of view with regards to the material. Sometimes that ambiguity works for The Book of Henry, evoking classic surrealism's cryptic perspective. Other times, however, the film simply feels like it's waiting for a sense of meaning that never arrives.

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The end of an era: Cook County clerk David Orr reportedly won't run again, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 06.22.17 at 06:00 AM

Cook County clerk David Orr speaks to the media in 2016. - RICH HEIN/SUN-TIMES
  • Rich Hein/Sun-Times
  • Cook County clerk David Orr speaks to the media in 2016.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, June 22, 2017.

  • End of an era: Cook County clerk David Orr won't run again

After 26 years as Cook County clerk, David Orr has announced that he will not run for reelection again, according to the Sun-Times. A fixture at City Hall since 1979, when he was first elected to the City Council, Orr was also briefly mayor for eight days after the unexpected death of Harold Washington in 1987. [Sun-Times]

  • Rauner calls for unity on budget, asks legislature to "act for the people"

Governor Bruce Rauner gave a televised speech calling for a "compromise budget plan" ten days ahead of the special budget session he's convened after the Illinois General Assembly under his leadership once again failed to pass a budget before June 30, the end of the fiscal year. Invoking Lincoln, Rauner claimed that "right now, our state is in real crisis—and the actions we take in the days ahead will determine how history remembers: "We reviewed a compromise budget plan that I can sign—one that we can all support. It moves us to middle ground on key issues. It is truly balanced. It funds schools, higher education, and human services. It provides a real path to property tax reduction." Meanwhile, the state, in a stalemate, has been operating without a budget since July 1, 2015, and has seen its credit rating lowered to just above junk. [Sun-Times]

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Chicago harpist Yomi makes carefree pop collages perfect for summer Sundays

Posted By on 06.21.17 at 12:00 PM

  • Sam Fuehring
  • Yomi

Among the many reasons I prefer street fests to the major festivals that descend on our public parks is that most of the smaller events do better at showcasing local musicians. To be fair, this weekend's Mamby on the Beach has more locals than almost any other festival its size, but the Logan Square Arts Festival—which runs Friday through Sunday—has booked almost exclusively Chicago artists (with the exception of a couple headliners), and it's much cheaper. It also does a decent job sharing the spotlight with deserving but lesser-know acts—including harpist Michele Annise, who records, produces, and performs as Yomi.

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Body/Head goes neon on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 06.21.17 at 07:00 AM


ARTIST: Bill Connors
SHOW: Body/Head, Diamond Terrifier Cipher, and Facs at Bohemian National Cemetery on Sat 6/24

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Bright Half Life Theater Wit
May 26
Galleries & Museums
Kilimanjaro: The Last Glacier Schneider Gallery
May 05

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