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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Cook County Board passes 2018 budget that will lay off 321 employees, and other Chicago news

Posted By today at 06.00 AM

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle - AP PHOTO/M. SPENCER GREEN, FILE
  • AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File
  • Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Wednesday, November 22, 2017. 

  •    Cook County budget set to lay off 321 employees

The Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a 2018 budget Tuesday that will lay off 321 employees, according to the Sun-Times. Board president Toni Preckwinkle said the layoffs are necessary to fill the $200 million budget gap caused by repealing the penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax. "Today the board met its most basic obligation. It has taken a tremendous effort to get to this point, but I'm pleased to say that together we have done so," Preckwinkle said. "This is not the budget I wanted. We disagree on many things, but continue to work together." [Sun-Times]

  • City Council approves Emanuel's 2018 budget

The City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2018 budget Tuesday, which will raise the cost of concert tickets, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and emergency phone service, according to the Tribune. Alderman Scott Waguespack, one of the three aldermen who voted against the plan, believes Emanuel isn't being completely truthful about the city's financial status. "They'd like us to believe the city's back on track, but the scenes in our neighborhoods and public school classrooms tell a different story," Waguespack said. [Tribune]

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The unbearable lightness of Justice League

Posted By on 11.21.17 at 03:53 PM

Justice League
  • Justice League
Warning: This post contains spoilers.

Justice League botches what could've been a transcendent pop-culture moment: the resurrection of Superman. A self-proclaimed symbol of truth, justice, and the American way, Superman has been interpreted as kitsch, myth, and a nation's fantasy image of itself. His death (which occurred in Justice League's predecessor, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) connotes some sort of national disillusionment, a loss of faith in the values he embodied—anyway, that's how it seems in the film, which opens in a dreary post-Superman America where the newspaper headlines commemorate a nation in mourning. Superman's resurrection ought to carry a sense of grandeur, awe, or silliness, or maybe some Cecil B. DeMille-esque combination of the three. Instead the filmmakers treat the resurrection as though it's nothing special: Superman gets on his feet, stoically greets the rest of the Justice League (who resurrected him), spends a few tearful moments with his adopted mother and Lois Lane, then it's off to save the world with the rest of the superheroes.

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Sixties garage rockers the Royal Flairs are best remembered for the macabre single ‘Suicide’

Posted By on 11.21.17 at 07:00 AM


Since 2004 Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) has used the Secret History of Chicago Music to shine a light on worthy artists with Chicago ties who've been forgotten, underrated, or never noticed in the first place. Older strips are archived here.

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Todd Stroger is running against Toni Preckwinkle for Cook County Board president, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 11.21.17 at 06:00 AM

Chicago alderman Todd Stroger (right) in 2006, at the press conference after the Cook County Democratic Party picked him to replace his ailing father on the ballot - AP PHOTO/CHARLES REX ARBOGAST
  • AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
  • Chicago alderman Todd Stroger (right) in 2006, at the press conference after the Cook County Democratic Party picked him to replace his ailing father on the ballot

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Tuesday, November 21, 2017.

  • Todd Stroger is running against Toni Preckwinkle for Cook County Board president

Former Cook County Board president Todd Stroger is running against current county board president Toni Preckwinkle in the March Democratic primary. Stroger, who lost in the 2010 primary, announced his reelection bid Monday morning, citing Preckwinkle's "dishonest" record on taxes. "People can see that she wasn't that honest when she was running against me about the sales tax," Stroger told the Tribune. "And I think she was very political on that. It sounded good to jump on the bandwagon and say we don't need this. But in essence, it was exactly what we needed." Former alderman Bob Fioretti announced his candidacy for Cook County Board president last week. [Tribune]

  • Amazon representatives visited the old Finkl Steel site last week

There's more news on Chicago's bid for Amazon's second North American headquarters. Representatives from the Internet retail giant visited the old Finkl Steel site in Lincoln Park last week, according to the Sun-Times. It's the only time that Amazon has been spotted scouting one of Illinois's ten proposed sites so far. [Sun-Times]

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Kyle Kinane at Thalia Hall and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 11.20.17 at 03:18 PM

Stand-up Kyle Kinane performs at Thalia Hall on Tuesday 11/21. - COURTESY OF THALIA HALL
  • Courtesy of Thalia Hall
  • Stand-up Kyle Kinane performs at Thalia Hall on Tuesday 11/21.

Here's some of what we recommend for your Thanksgiving week:

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Chicago principals association head Troy LaRaviere to run against Emanuel in 2019, and other Chicago news

Posted By on 11.20.17 at 08:04 AM

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a recent press conference - AP PHOTO/MATT MARTON
  • AP Photo/Matt Marton
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a recent press conference

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, November 20, 2017.

  • Chicago principals association head Troy LaRaviere to run against Emanuel in 2019

The 2019 mayoral race is approaching, and the pool of potential candidates is narrowing. Former Chicago Public Schools principal Troy LaRaviere, now head of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, has decided to run against his nemesis, Mayor Rahm Emanuel. LaRaviere, a harsh critic of the mayor for years, was controversially removed from his post at Blaine Elementary School. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who ended up in a runoff race with Emanuel in 2015, "sounds ready to give it another go," according to the Tribune. Former Chicago Police Department superintendent Garry McCarthy, who also was controversially fired by Emanuel, is "warming to a run," and Cook County commissioner Bridget Gainer "is studying it." Cook County sheriff Tom Dart has decided against running. Unseating the deep-pocketed and well-connected Emanuel will be a huge challenge. "My goal is the realization of human potential in this city, which means people have to have the best education, they have to have economic activity that creates jobs so they can sustain and support themselves, and provide for themselves and their families," LaRaviere told the Tribune. "It means they have to be safe. The office of mayor is not my goal. The office is a means to that end." [Tribune]

  • Analysis of Emanuel 2018 budget raises red flags

Chicago's financial crisis is far from over, and there's still plenty of "heavy lifting" to do, according to a Civic Federation analysis of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2018 budget. The $8.6 billion budget includes new and higher taxes to generate revenue, but the city is still being crushed by debt and pension liabilities. "The heavy lifting is not over. There is much more that needs to be accomplished," the Civic Federation wrote. Despite the issues, the organization endorsed Emanuel's plan. [Sun-Times]

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Wear your art on your sleeve with the help of new Logan Square emporium Flair

Posted By on 11.18.17 at 11:43 AM

click image Logan Square's Flair gift shop specializes in pins, patches, and vintage clothing. - ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo
  • Logan Square's Flair gift shop specializes in pins, patches, and vintage clothing.

The offbeat accessory is Flair's specialty. The recently opened Logan Square store's inventory is dominated by pins featuring figures from Prince to Audre Lorde and patches with generally woke sentiments such as "Fuck the patriarchy" and "We will outlive them."

"My focus is supporting small business by marginalized people, whether they be people of color, LGBTQIA, or women makers," Flair owner Melissa Elliott says. To that end she stocks her shelves with locally made goods—by such brands as Nyxturna, PinChe Loca, and the Found—and with merch from outside labels including JB Brager, Gaypin' Guys, and Peace Prospects. She also offers customers a carefully curated selection of vintage clothing and hosts periodic art shows and events in the space. Local vegan bakery Pie, Pie My Darling will have a pop-up on Friday, December 15, from noon to 4 PM (though they may sell out before).

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Brian Posen resigns from Stage 773 amid harassment allegations

Posted By on 11.17.17 at 06:40 PM

Brian Posen in 2011 - LISA PREDKO
  • Lisa Predko
  • Brian Posen in 2011

The Chicago comedy scene is filled with stories of men who abuse their power and use it to harass and assault their female colleagues and students. Brian Posen, the founder and creative director of Stage 773 and a former teacher at Columbia College and Second City, has figured in some of these stories and, more recently, a social media campaign instigated by a former assistant who cataloged his offensive comments and behavior under the hashtag #boycottstage773.

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Last Flag Flying is Richard Linklater’s latest triumph

Posted By on 11.17.17 at 03:57 PM

Last Flag Flying
  • Last Flag Flying
Last Flag Flying, now entering its second week in Chicago theaters, reminds me of Neil Young's 1990 album Ragged Glory. It's a rough, but casual, meditation on American themes, made with relaxed, subtle mastery. If the film feels a bit underwhelming on first encounter, I suspect it will gain from repeat viewings—it's full of subtle characterizations and charming grace notes, and these things can become more resonant once they're more familiar. Last Flag mostly plays out in relaxed scenes where the primary characters bullshit and catch up; director Richard Linklater (who cowrote the script with Darryl Ponicsan, on whose novel the film is based) isn't interested in telling a story so much as studying these men, and he gives them plenty of opportunities to reflect on their pasts, express their current beliefs, and learn from each other. The insights are buoyed by ingratiating good humor, the characters often telling jokes or cracking wise. The humor is nicely integrated into the movie—you're always laughing with the characters, never at them.

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The Chicago Art Book Fair and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 11.17.17 at 03:39 PM

Check out (and possibly purchase) local art books at the Chicago Art Book Fair 11/17-11/18. - COURTESY OF CHICAGO ART BOOK FAIR
  • Courtesy of Chicago Art Book Fair
  • Check out (and possibly purchase) local art books at the Chicago Art Book Fair 11/17-11/18.

Avoid the cold with the shows, exhibits, and fairs taking place this weekend. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
This Wonderful Life The Edge Theater
November 02
Galleries & Museums
March 10

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