Hyde Park /hyde-park RedEye Neighborhoods Sun, 19 Feb 2012 19:59:46 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2 Another City Council Remap Submitted; Field Hearings To Begin /hyde-park/2012/01/09/another-city-council-remap-submitted-field-hearings-to-begin/ /hyde-park/2012/01/09/another-city-council-remap-submitted-field-hearings-to-begin/#comments Mon, 09 Jan 2012 21:09:45 +0000 jessicacantarelli /hyde-park/2012/01/09/another-city-council-remap-submitted-field-hearings-to-begin/ The Roscoe View Journal reports:

<blockquote>A new proposed map for Chicago City Council wards was submitted to City Council by the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) yesterday, as the debate over how to readjust ward lines to 2010 Census data heats up.</blockquote>

Read more <a href=”http://www.roscoeviewjournal.com/news/another-city-council-remap-submitted-field-hearings-to-begin” target=”_”>at Roscoe View Journal</a>

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In praise of Chicago Public Libraries /hyde-park/2012/01/07/in-praise-of-chicago-public-libraries/ /hyde-park/2012/01/07/in-praise-of-chicago-public-libraries/#comments Sun, 08 Jan 2012 00:33:44 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2957094 I was rather disappointed to see in the news this week that most of the Chicago Public Libraries were going to be closed on Mondays. Since I have college libraries that I can go to at the moment, I don’t really use CPL services much nowadays. Even so, I have found CPL to be incredibly useful in the past and I would rather not have its services be cut.

I think CPL is one of the best-run city services. Harold Washington Library is particularly gorgeous (but since it’s the central library, it will stay open on Mondays). You don’t hear the same kind of complaints about waste or criminal activity that sometimes crop up in other city departments.

I really like how serene the libraries are. They’re good places to get things done. The libraries have also been rather savvy about keeping up with the times; in particular, I’m impressed by the quality of the online content that the system offers. It’s really frustrating that budget cuts might end up wrecking a very good thing for the city.

In conjunction with the cuts to CPS, the cuts to CPL make it seem like education isn’t really a top budget priority. I think that throughout the course of my childhood, I might have wound up learning just as much from what I got out of the library as what I got from formal classroom instruction.

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Suggestions for brightening up Hyde Park in wintertime /hyde-park/2012/01/06/suggestions-for-brightening-up-hyde-park-in-wintertime/ /hyde-park/2012/01/06/suggestions-for-brightening-up-hyde-park-in-wintertime/#comments Sat, 07 Jan 2012 04:11:58 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2957079 Winter can be a little grim once the holiday decorations have come down, especially since the sun sets sometime around 4:30 p.m. With all its old buildings, Hyde Park looks great in the summer, but seems a little forbidding in the winter. Though I don’t see the following suggestions being realized (ever),  here’s what I’d like to see:

1. Affix googly eyes to everything.

I draw my inspiration from Item 40 of the 2011 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt List: ”Affx a pair of appropriately enormous googly eyes to the campus building of your choice.” But why stop there? There are so many things that could use anthropomorphization. Some people call this practice “eyebombing,” which is not a term I like. There is, however, a whole Tumblr devoted to the practice called Eyebombing (of course there is).

2. Turn the giant lights on the Midway into lightsabers.

Whereas my first suggestion is at least technically feasible, this one isn’t really. Rather, it’s more that the construction company really missed an opportunity. A lot of people I know have remarked upon the resemblance of the lights lining Midway crossings to lightsabers. Lightsabers, though, are colored. The lights on the Midway are plain white.

3. Add ridiculous inspirational quotes to everything

My dining hall now has quotes about milk from Buddha and John Barrie posted on the milk dispensers. It is a mystery to me why those are up. But I don’t think they’re a bad idea. I’m sure we could find something deep from Socrates or St. Augustine about Thai food or mailboxes that we can stick up around Hyde Park…

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Hyde Park Jazz Society Returns to Room 43 /hyde-park/2012/01/06/hyde-park-jazz-society-returns-to-room-43/ /hyde-park/2012/01/06/hyde-park-jazz-society-returns-to-room-43/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2012 21:46:31 +0000 Kyle Coward /hyde-park/?p=2957053 Much like a New York football fan traveling to New Jersey to watch their Giants and Jets play home games, Hyde Park-Kenwood jazz lovers might’ve found it incongruous the last several months commuting outside the community to catch the Hyde Park Jazz Society’s Sunday Evening Jazz showcase.  After months away from its North Kenwood/Bronzeville haunt, the weekend jazz series makes it return Sunday night to Room 43 (1041 E. 43rd St.).  And to celebrate, the Society is throwing itself a big homecoming bash with its Black & White event, along with honoring Chicago jazz vocalist Frieda Lee, who’ll also be performing.

“The fact that we’re calling it our homecoming party tells it all,” says Judith E. Stein, a Hyde Park Jazz Society board director about the group’s elation.  “It feels what like home should be.”

Where home had been and where it is now is on 43rd and Greenwood, where Room 43 is located.

“We are very excited that we can finally resume our mission to educate and expose more people to the classic American music – jazz,” she says about the organization that was formed in 1996 in its first incarnation as the Committee to Restore Jazz in Hyde Park and reborn and reorganized in 2006 as the Hyde Park Jazz Society.  Established not long thereafter as a centerpiece of its mission was the Sunday evening jazz series, which was initially held at the Checkerboard Lounge before disagreements with management led the Society to relocate in 2009.

Taking up residence at Room 43, the Society didn’t have a problem making themselves at home in a place popular with musicians and the public, with arts critic Howard Reich of the Tribune (Red Eye’s sibling publication) declaring it “one of the hippest places to spend a Sunday night.”  The event, however, would be on the move again last April – splitting time between the L26 Lounge at the South Loop Hotel and the Marmon Grand – due to issues Room 43 had with the city regarding its Public Place of Amusement (PPA) license.

“That was what was keeping us from being there,” Stein notes about Room 43’s licensing issues. “We weren’t allowed to charge any money for the musicians and the entertainment, so we needed the license.”

Stein says the Society was very grateful to L26 and the Marmon Grand for extending invitations to set up shop, but that the distance of both venues further away from the Hyde Park-Kenwood area affected the numbers of people showing up to the Sunday night gigs.

“There was no dropoff in interest, but there was absolutely a decline in attendance,” she tells.  “We lost a number of our patrons.”

The Society stood by Room 43 owner Norman Bolden during his legal negotiations with the city – while the Sunday night series was relocated elsewhere – and once the club was allowed a PPA license, resuming the showcase there was one of the first orders of business.

“We had a commitment to [Norman Bolden] because we all spent so much money on legal fees,” she says.  “And we felt we had a personal and ethical responsibility to come back, as well as wanting to.  We love the room.”

Sunday night’s return to Room 43 also commemorates its annual Black & White event, in which patrons are encouraged – but not required – to dress in either black or white, or both colors.  The event (which has a cover charge of $10) will also feature a performance by the John Burnett Orchestra with vocalist Frieda Lee, who will be celebrated by the Society for her contributions to Chicago’s jazz scene.

“I’m honored that their beginning date is the time in which they are honoring me,”  Lee says about the event, one of the first she’s doing after taking some time away from public performances around Chicago.  “It’s like a resurgence for me singing again in and around Chicago, and especially the South Side.”

The same could be said for the Society as far as its own resurgence and reemergence at Room 43.  Stein says she’ll believe her old patrons’ promises to come out again – the ones who stopped showing up to the Sunday night series – when she sees it with her own eyes.  But she remains optimistic.

“The proof will be in the pudding because we’re going to be back [at Room 43], and so we certainly hope we’ll get all of our crowd back,” she says.  “From the e-mails I’ve been receiving and the phone calls and the comments on the street, I have no doubt we’ll get our crowd back.”


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A brief year in review /hyde-park/2011/12/30/a-brief-year-in-review/ /hyde-park/2011/12/30/a-brief-year-in-review/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2011 23:52:43 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2956963 I was kept awake last night by the sound of rain pounding on the roof…not a sound that I’m used to hearing in December. Remember when people predicted that this winter was going to be very brutal? Hmm. Not even any snow on Christmas this year, although I don’t exactly miss Snowpocalypse, when my school cancelled classes for the first time in 40 years.

Other sites by now would have taken care of the legitimate lists of noteworthy events this year (OWS, death of Osama bin Laden, airstrikes in Libya, etc…), so I will put in my two cents’ worth about slightly more (hopefully) off-beat things.


Remember this ridiculously popular video of one cat hugging its kitten? Watch it again

Click here to view the embedded video.


This video juxtaposing Pocahontas with Cee Lo Green’s song is 8 seconds of genius:

Click here to view the embedded video.


According to the BBC, a drunk elk got stuck in a tree in Sweden. Also, apparently drunk elk are not that unusual.


I too want to know what will happen to Avery Jessup now that Kim Jong-Il has died.


Yes, there was quite a bit more to the year than what I’ve written so far. But someone has to recognize the cat videos, and it may as well be me.

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Election-Year Bumper Stickers and Hyde Park Politics /hyde-park/2011/12/30/election-year-bumper-stickers-and-hyde-park-politics/ /hyde-park/2011/12/30/election-year-bumper-stickers-and-hyde-park-politics/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2011 18:59:04 +0000 Kyle Coward /hyde-park/?p=2956930

With the Iowa caucuses just days away and the presidential elections less than a year off, RedEye’s travels around Hyde Park have taken us to an accidental, weather-beaten monument from past elections.

If over the last three decades you’ve lived or passed between Shore Drive and Cornell Avenue on the southern end of 53rd Street, most likely you’ve noticed a collection of frayed, election-year bumper stickers still remaining on the block’s lightpoles.  Decipherable to varying degrees, the stickers stand as bygone remnants of state and national campaigns from before many neighborhood residents were even born, all of them located between two longtime neighborhood polling places – the long-demolished Chicago Sinai Congregation and the Catholic Theological Union headquarters.

For their national reach, perhaps most noteworthy of the stickers are those for the Democratic presidential campaigns of Ted Kennedy in 1980 and John Glenn in 1984 – efforts that neither resulted in victory in Illinois nor the Democratic presidential nod for both candidates.  Two halves of the Kennedy stickers adorn one pole located near the corner of Shore Drive – with the original blue background and white lettering now mostly rusted into white – while near Cornell Avenue, the standard presidential nominee red, white and blue hues comprising Glenn’s stickers are still clearly visible.

More particular to the Land of Lincoln are three stickers between the Kennedy and Glenn bookends – one for Dawn Clark Netsch’s 1994 gubernatorial candidacy (situated by an alley on the 1700 E. 53rd Street block), a faded sticker for a Paul Simon campaign (located on the south end of 53rd and Hyde Park Blvd.) and another referencing former U.S. Sen. Charles Percy (posted on the same lightpost as the Kennedy stickers).  Netsch’s Springfield bid that year would go down in defeat to incumbent Jim Edgar; ten years earlier, Simon would prevail over the three-term legislator Percy for Senate.

When it comes to the neighborhood at large, Hyde Park and the adjoining Kenwood community have long been Democratic strongholds.  Among the area’s many left-leaning politicians, activists and figures coming from the neighborhood over the years have been the late Mayor Harold Washington, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and President Obama, and it’s also where Rev. Jesse Jackson – who ran for the 1984 and 1988 Democratic presidential nominations – helped to launch Operation PUSH.

By the prestige of its economics department and its promotion of the small-government, monetarist philosophy of the Chicago School of Economics, U of C is oft-typified as trending Republican, with a number of the department’s Nobel Prize-winning faculty and acolytes influencing various Republican politicians throughout the last several decades.  Illinois-native Ronald Reagan – who won both the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections – tapped Chicago School godfather Milton Friedman as an adviser for both of his terms, and the school’s philosophies were influential in the economic policies of the Ford and Nixon administrations, along with those of the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain.

On the surface, the supposed political/ideological split between the neighborhood and U of C would make for one the most unique – if not the most unique – paradox of principles of any community in Chicago.  But Ruth Knack, president of the Hyde Park Historical Society, says it’s really not so.

“The Hyde Park residents who are generally liberal include many University faculty, so it’s not such a split,” she says.  “I think the conservative part of the University is a small segment.”

According to Carol Vieth, who sits on the Hyde Park Historical Society’s board, any differences of political opinion likely come from the neighborhood’s geography, and not any kind of divide along party lines.

“The location of the ward lines and the Congressional lines [in the neighborhood] have to do with Democratic-Democratic politics,” she says, “but not Democratic-Republican politics.”

NOTE: Red Eye contacted the University of Chicago’s Political Science department to see if any professors could offer observations for this story, but no responses were provided.


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Stand and deliver, Mr. Keating /hyde-park/2011/12/30/stand-and-deliver-mr-keating/ /hyde-park/2011/12/30/stand-and-deliver-mr-keating/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2011 06:48:20 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2956927 Since I’m on winter break, I’ve been catching up on episodes of House. As I contemplated the awesome and criminally underused Robert Sean Leonard, my mind turned to Dead Poets Society, which he starred in a few decades ago.

I like Dead Poets Society, although I’m lukewarm on the whole inspirational teacher genre in general. I’ve had a few teachers who very clearly wanted to be the kind of teacher people would make uplifting movies about (although they weren’t necessarily patterning themselves after Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating).

Even though Mr. Keating was an English teacher, it’s not clear to me that his students learn much about the subject. I think the point is that his students do learn a lot…but mostly about life, the universe, and everything.

Honestly, though, if you want teenagers to become free thinkers, is English class necessarily the place to do it? School by its very nature is not the greatest way to develop nonconformity. What school is good at doing is teaching content and skills. It seems to me that a more efficient way of teaching students to have a different outlook on the world is to give them train fare for a day and tell them to go somewhere they haven’t gone before.

Interestingly, another inspirational teacher movie released around the same time was Stand and Deliver, which I will admit upfront that I haven’t seen. However, it seems from synopses that the thrust of the film is that we know that the teacher is great because he helped his students become good at math. Did Mr. Keating’s students get better at English? I wonder if this is a reflection of the difference in people’s attitudes toward humanities-type subjects versus the more quantitative-fields.

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When does one become a “ma’am”? /hyde-park/2011/12/27/when-does-one-become-a-maam/ /hyde-park/2011/12/27/when-does-one-become-a-maam/#comments Wed, 28 Dec 2011 05:22:25 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2956891 I’ve noticed this year that strangers have started calling me “ma’am” this year instead of “miss.” I’m not quite sure what to make of this development.

In every case, it’s been someone older than me calling me “ma’am.” I know that some people don’t like being called “miss” because they see it as condescending, and other people don’t like being called “ma’am” because it makes them feel old. It probably doesn’t help that there is regional variation in how people use those two titles to address women. It’s ironic that those two titles are intended to be polite forms of address (the alternative is to say, “Hey, you there!”), but can often end up being taken the wrong way.

The situation is completely different for men. I don’t think there’s any risk of offending a man if you call him “sir.” I don’t know why someone developed the brilliant idea of having different titles for women. It just seems to add unnecessary complications.

It seems that other countries have looked for ways to get around the inconvenience of trying to decide how to address a woman; the Oxford dictionary website instructs people to address women as “Frau” in German regardless of whether or not they are married.

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Happy Festivus! /hyde-park/2011/12/23/happy-festivus/ /hyde-park/2011/12/23/happy-festivus/#comments Fri, 23 Dec 2011 15:00:05 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2956802 The 23rd, of course, marks Festivus. I don’t observe Festivus, but I can always see the appeal around this time of year.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the holidays (as evidenced by my previous post about my trip to MSI just to see the Christmas trees). But I have to say, the holidays seem to demand a level of alertness that I don’t necessarily want to have during vacation.

A sales associate wished me a Merry Christmas today. As I do in fact celebrate Christmas, I had no objection to it. However, it was still surprising to hear it because it seems that a lot of retailers have switched to “Happy Holidays.” This is my preferred method of greeting, as it seems to be the most inclusive (unless you don’t believe in celebrating the holidays…) Some people still look at me askance when I say, “Happy Holidays” though, so there’s no winning with anyone.

Then there’s present-giving. My friends just do Secret Santa, which does simplify matters considerably. We have a $5 limit, which ostensibly makes life easier for us. I have to admit, though, that money can compensate for lack of creativity. A kid told me not to stress out too much about it, because it’s not like a crappy Secret Santa gift is going to lead to the dissolution of a friendship. But that’s backwards. If I lost a friend over one disappointing present, then the friend wouldn’t exactly be worth keeping. It’s the overenthusiastic display of appreciation to conceal disappointment that is more problematic for me.

Despite all this, I remain a Christmas celebrator. Let’s face it: Christmas trees are so much more awesome than aluminum poles.

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Christmas Around the World at MSI /hyde-park/2011/12/20/christmas-around-the-world-at-msi/ /hyde-park/2011/12/20/christmas-around-the-world-at-msi/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2011 10:34:08 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2956743  


I used to go to the Christmas Around the World exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry nearly every winter during elementary school. I haven’t gone in a while, but I went with some friends to MSI yesterday just to look at the Christmas trees.

The educational value of the Christmas Around the World exhibit is somewhat suspect. I read all the placards under the trees, but my main takeaway was that a lot of countries don’t eat meat around Christmas time. To be honest, the main reason I love the exhibit is that all of the lights and shiny objects appeal to my inner 5-year-old and/or my inner magpie.

What would make the exhibit more fun would be if we got to rate the trees for effort. I particularly liked the musical theme of the Welsh tree. The German tree is always great (considering that the Christmas tree originated with the Germans, I would expect this to be so). When I saw all the plaid decorations on the Scottish tree, my first thought was “Hipster tree!” I have been spending far too much time around hipsters. Some countries’ trees just had a lot of flags stuck on them, which struck me as a little bland. The England tree had a bunch of pictures of Prince William and Kate Middleton from their wedding. While I have no objection to them in general, they don’t strike me as particularly Christmas-y.

The museum is surprisingly pricey, though. I think this is the first time I’ve been to MSI for something not school-related, so this would be the first time I’ve had to pay full price ($13 for Chicago residents). I think a lot of the major museums in Chicago have had to jack up their admission prices by a lot in recent years due to the need for funds, which is too bad because I really enjoy going to museums.

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“Where fun comes to get mugged” /hyde-park/2011/12/17/where-fun-comes-to-get-mugged/ /hyde-park/2011/12/17/where-fun-comes-to-get-mugged/#comments Sun, 18 Dec 2011 00:29:32 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2956704 Apparently some people at my school are planning to sell mugs with “Where fun comes to get mugged.” It’s a play on a very old t-shirt slogan, “Where fun comes to die.” I guess the idea is supposed to be, “Haha…mugs…muggings…get it?”

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it seems a little tacky. I think it’s a little disrespectful to the neighborhood. Hyde Park is actually a nice neighborhood overall, but talking to some people, you’d think that we were living in some kind of post-apocalyptic anarchic wasteland. No, you do not get street cred from living in Hyde Park or taking the Red Line south of the Loop. You do not get to make fun of your friends attending college elsewhere just because you think you’ve seen “gritty urban America.”

On the other hand…it’s just a mug. I don’t want to be one of those people who takes umbrage at very minor things. Thoughts?

The event flyer (taken from the Facebook page)

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Timeline of your life /hyde-park/2011/12/16/timeline-of-your-life/ /hyde-park/2011/12/16/timeline-of-your-life/#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2011 07:32:41 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2956669 According to someone’s status update in November of 2009, I proclaimed “I NEED PHOTOSYNTHESIS!” I have no recollection of saying this, nor can I really guess at the context. Thank you, Facebook Timeline, for reminding me.

I thought it would be fun to browse through my old posts more easily, but to be honest, a lot of it has been fairly mundane. There are a few things here and there that crack me up (e.g., “I NEED PHOTOSYNTHESIS!”), but I guess there’s a good reason that I don’t remember any of this stuff. A lot of it is just exchanges about homework assignments, where and when people will meet up for activities, and gripes about the weather. I find Facebook valuable because I can use it for a lot of things (events, messages, photos, etc), but that’s also what makes it a little meh to look back on. Even I don’t find everything I do to be interesting. I am not really thinking about posterity when I write, “Hey, when is such-and-such assignment due?”

I wonder if people keep diaries anymore. It seems that technology has more or less obviated the need to keep a diary. You know how people will publish the letters and journals of famous deceased people? If Facebook is still around in several decades, I wonder if those sorts of books will turn into collections of their most interesting tidbits from Facebook.

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Queer Arts in Hyde Park – “All the Writers I Know” Returns to SHoP /hyde-park/2011/12/14/queer-arts-in-hyde-park-all-the-writers-i-know-returns-to-shop/ /hyde-park/2011/12/14/queer-arts-in-hyde-park-all-the-writers-i-know-returns-to-shop/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2011 18:57:38 +0000 Kyle Coward /hyde-park/?p=2938742 While the North Side tends to be exclusively designated as the epicenter of Chicago’s LGBT scene for arts, entertainment and nightlife, in Hyde Park, a group of “queer” scribes have been  putting on a series of readings for audiences of all orientations that in their words, “lets you feel as comfortable as you would in your own room.”In its first year running, SHoP has been a host to the literary showcase All the Writers I Know, presenting writers from the city’s LGBT community reading works ranging from autobiographical prose to spoken word poetry.  Described by its participants as “part grown-up story time, part poetry cipher, part cocktail party,” tonight’s installment will be “Families – Blood and Chosen,” featuring readings by series founders Patrick Gill and Rosy Phinick, along with works read by series members Mar Curran and Jamie Royce among others.          

To find out  more about All the Writers I Know, the queer literary movement and the South Side as a place for queer arts, Curran took a moment to chat with a RedEye ‘hoods reporter:

RE: Talk a little about All the Writers I Know, and its importance to what would be described as the “queer literary” movement.
MC: Patrick Gill and Rosy Phinick started it in June, I believe, and it was out of a necessity that they saw, where queer writers weren’t comfortable in spaces that were mostly seen as “straight” places.  They felt that their voices were less frequently heard, so they wanted to create a showcase where it was all queer readers, so that everyone involved felt like it was a safe place to express themselves and the extent of their queerness, in a literary sort of way.

RE: Where did All the Writers I Know get its start?
MC: For the first three shows, it was actually held in Patrick Gill’s apartment in Boystown. And throughout the course of All the Writers I Know, he’s really tried to preserve that at-home intimacy feel, so that everyone feels like it’s a close family environment.

RE: The perception that some might have of the arts is that it’s a very inclusive space that, by virtue, is open to people of many persuasions and ideas. Why do you think these scenes aren’t as conducive to queer participants?  (In this case, writers?)
MC: I think it’s not so much a commentary on the art scene itself as it is society at large.  Queer people are so marginalized in generalized society that we see it as very important to have spaces that are for queer people and queer people only, so that we can develop our own culture outside of heterosexual and hetero-normative culture, where we can freely express ourselves without having to worry about some sort of reprise from the generalized norms of society.

RE: The theme for this new installment of All the Writers I Know is called “Families – Blood and Chosen.”  Right now, we’re in holiday season, and with it you get both the good times and the drama of families getting together.  Was there a conscious decision to talk about families with this installment, given the time of year?
MC: Definitely.  I think that especially for queer people, there’s a lot of different dynamics that surround the idea of family – especially biological family – and navigating that, because most queer people probably come from straight families.  And figuring out how to sort out the idea of one’s identity within that dynamic can be difficult.  And then also remembering that queer people have chosen families which they see are very fulfilling, and to have a reminder that that can be a fulfillment of relationships outside of the biological family.

RE: Particularly with LGBT persons, you could very well find those using the holiday season to make an announcement to their family about their orientation, or perhaps hash out whatever differences and unease that may linger amongst other relatives because of their lifestyle. As this maybe being the case, would queer writers especially find this a great time of year for mining material?
MC: I would say, definitely.  Writing is a really good way to relieve a lot of that stress rather than taking it out on your family.

RE: What about Hyde Park makes the neighborhood an ideal place to stage All the Writers I Know?
MC:  I was the one who found SHoP for All the Writers I Know, actually.  What really attracted me the most to it was that it was a collaborative artistic environment.  So we were very interested in not only taking something from the community – in that we wanted to have people come in and listen to what we have to say – but we also wanted to give back by bringing people into the creative environment where other people were also thriving.  We are very interested in moving to other parts of the city throughout the year so that we can showcase different people in different locations, and to bring in different audiences so that everyone feels that it’s accessible for them.

RE:  The South Side, as compared to the North Side, does not offer as many outlets and spaces for queer arts.  What’s been the response of the city’s LGBT community making the trip down Lake Shore Drive for All the Writers I Know?
MC: I think a lot of people are surprised that we did this movement to Hyde Park, because a lot of people do see the gay scene as mostly being a North Side thing.  But we see it as very important to remind everyone that there are gay scenes throughout all of Chicagoland, and that we are all one community.  We need to not base our location just in one centralized area; we need to expand the queer culture throughout all of Chicago.

Tonight’s All the Writers I Know installment of “Families – Blood and Chosen” will start at 8 and run to 10:30 at ShoP (5638 S. Woodlawn Ave.).

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Are you smarter than a high schooler? /hyde-park/2011/12/14/are-you-smarter-than-a-high-schooler/ /hyde-park/2011/12/14/are-you-smarter-than-a-high-schooler/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2011 06:16:35 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2938739 I think my ability to do calculus problems peaked in junior year of high school. I still remember a good bit of it, thanks to taking physics classes in college, but physics problems are really a different style (e.g., you often don’t have to know how to find the Taylor series past the first term…)

Same goes for other subjects. I remember seeing a comment about Cahokia the other day, and my reaction was, “Man, I remember reading about Cahokia in my A.P. World History textbook…but I don’t remember most of it…”

I’ve learned a lot in college, but I’ve forgotten a lot that I learned in high school. I know this is natural; it’s not like it’s possible to remember everything. What’s more, it’s not as though it’s desirable to remember everything. Much of what I DO remember from high school is the stuff that I need to know for college, such as integrating by parts or French verb conjugations.

On the whole, I know I’m more knowledgeable now than I was in high school. Even so, I’m sure my high school self would be able to beat me in a trivia face-off. I remember the mockery surrounding the show Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? back when I was young enough to assert “Yes” with confidence. While I wouldn’t conflate knowledge of minutiae with intelligence, it still slightly saddens me to realize that I’ve reached the point in my life where I would probably lose such a game.

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The long good-byes /hyde-park/2011/12/10/the-long-good-byes/ /hyde-park/2011/12/10/the-long-good-byes/#comments Sun, 11 Dec 2011 01:57:42 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2938688 Just to be clear, this is not a good-bye post.

Since winter break has started for college students, this is prime time to be saying good-bye to other people (temporarily, of course). I tend to dread saying good-bye, largely because I have yet to perfect the necessary suaveness for them.

Why is saying good-bye difficult? It’s not emotional if you are just departing for a few weeks. It’s not hard to find something to say (“Bye!/”Have a good break!”/”See you in a few weeks!”). No, the problem is that I tend to run into situations where I have to say good-bye to the same people multiple times in the same day.

Take today, for instance. I’m walking jauntily out of my dorm as I pull my suitcase behind me and wave farewell to people, and I manage to walk about 10 yards past the entrance before I realize that I’ve forgotten my hairbrush in my room. Then I have to turn around and walking past the same people I said good-bye to just minutes earlier. It seems that “Hello” would be a more appropriate greeting, but then I would have to say good-bye again. I am not yet enamored of saying “Hi! Bye!” in quick succession. I think we need a new word to cover situations like this.

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Every day is a game of Frogger /hyde-park/2011/12/09/every-day-is-a-game-of-frogger/ /hyde-park/2011/12/09/every-day-is-a-game-of-frogger/#comments Sat, 10 Dec 2011 03:05:33 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2938669 There’s a fairly well-known clip from Seinfeld in which George Costanza’s attempt to cross a busy street turns into a game of Frogger:

Click here to view the embedded video.

That’s what walking around in Hyde Park feels like sometimes, especially during midday. I admit that part of the issue may just be that at some intersections, pedestrians (read: college students) treat the traffic lights as decorations. However, I wouldn’t pin the Frogger-like nature of crossing certain streets on any individuals in particular.

Traffic flow seems like it should be fairly easy to figure out (cars have been popular for decades), especially since the neighborhood has some of the finest minds in the country. It’s not like the Nobel Prize committee gives those medals to just anybody. To be fair, though, I very much doubt anyone at the university is researching traffic flow.

On the bright side, maybe playing Frogger in real life helps sharpen your cognitive abilities. Surely having an easy time crossing the street would turn anyone into a complacent sloth. Conspiracy theory: This is what the university was planning all along.



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Ah, the loveliness of finals week /hyde-park/2011/12/08/ah-the-loveliness-of-finals-week/ /hyde-park/2011/12/08/ah-the-loveliness-of-finals-week/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2011 05:44:25 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2938651 When I was a high school senior, I happened to be visiting campus during the Friday of University of Chicago’s autumn quarter finals week. I was wandering down a hallway when I suddenly heard a yell of anguish and a girl loudly sobbing, “I’ve worked too hard to get a C!!!”

Suffice it to say, I was rather intimidated by the prospect of college, as I had yet to have an exam reduce me to tears.

Now, with several college finals weeks under my belt, I have so far managed to avoid being completely traumatized by an exam (although I don’t necessarily expect for this to remain the case). Not all of my classmates are so lucky; supposedly, some people cried after taking an exam where the average turned out to be a 17%.

Thanks to the quarter system, I am lucky enough to have to go through 12 finals weeks during my time in college rather than 8. Not everyone freaks out over finals, though. At any given time during this week, you could spot students relaxing in the dormitories. I wonder what accounts for the differences in people’s emotional states during finals week. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of temperament. The relative difficulty of people’s courses probably plays a role too. Finally, something I’ve been curious about: Given University of Chicago’s precipitous drop in admission rates over the last few years, are students more or less likely to be high-strung about finals? I’m betting that the average student now comes in with a better academic record, which would perhaps mean they were more concerned about grades. Alternatively, the average student might now have better academic preparation, so they would perform better on finals.

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Blame it on the light bulb /hyde-park/2011/12/03/blame-it-on-the-light-bulb/ /hyde-park/2011/12/03/blame-it-on-the-light-bulb/#comments Sat, 03 Dec 2011 17:47:02 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2938550 While I think that the light bulb is in general a great invention, there’s one oft-quoted fact related to it that induces some nostalgia for times I never lived in: Supposedly, it was normal for people to get ten hours of sleep a night before use of the light bulb became widespread (source: MSNBC). I can’t verify the accuracy of that statement, but I can say that it’s certainly not true now.

Supposedly, adults only need 7 to 9 hours of sleep (source: Mayo Clinic). Does that mean people back in the day were chronically oversleeping? I have never found just 7 or even 8 hours of sleep to be quite satisfying, which is rather unfortunate because I know people who zip along on 4 or 5 and seem to get so much done. However, getting too many hours of sleep is supposed to shorten your lifespan, so I guess I can thank college for helping me live longer.

Perhaps I’d be better off as a coffee-drinker. I’ve just never developed a taste for coffee. I’m okay with tea. Some people swear by coffee because they say they can’t get through the day without it, but I’d rather not be dependent on caffeine to keep me awake.  While I’m all for people drinking coffee as they’d like, I feel as though the bar might be set a little high for society if normal people are expected to function with the aid of a few chemicals. Of course, coffee is fairly harmless…I’m willing to bet that there are at least a few people I know who are taking Adderall or Ritalin on the sly, but they’re probably a very small minority of the student body.

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My occasional semi-Luddite moments /hyde-park/2011/12/02/my-occasional-semi-luddite-moments/ /hyde-park/2011/12/02/my-occasional-semi-luddite-moments/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2011 21:28:49 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2938548 As I was picking up my cell phone after dropping it yesterday, a freshman looked over at me and said mournfully, “I wish I had a crappy phone.”

He then continued, “The G key on my Blackberry gets stuck sometimes. And the battery life is so short. I have so many First World Problems.”

I suppose my “crappy phone” would be a FWP as well, but for some reason, I have never really felt compelled to get a better one. It makes calls, I can text from it, and the alarm goes off at the appropriate time. It is not a smartphone, though, which means I am probably several years behind everyone else in terms of phone technology.

I suppose I’ll need a better phone once I start working phone time (so I could have the wonderful opportunity to check my e-mails anytime, anywhere), but I sometimes wonder where the line is between not being too acquisitive and being out of touch with technology. Given how often we replace phones/computers/camera/etc., I bet that the pile of all the electronics we’ve discarded over just the last few years would be enormous. Mercifully, I don’t think anybody would perceive a college student as being out-of-touch with technology. I might have to revisit my stance in a few years, though…


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Teamsters Members Back at Work at Regents Park, SEIU Members to Follow? /hyde-park/2011/12/01/teamsters-members-back-at-work-at-regents-park-seiu-members-to-follow/ /hyde-park/2011/12/01/teamsters-members-back-at-work-at-regents-park-seiu-members-to-follow/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2011 17:52:00 +0000 Kyle Coward /hyde-park/?p=2935526 After a November filled with labor-management contention at the Regents Park Apartments (5020-5050 S. Lake Shore Dr.) that saw the termination of longtime employees at the high-rise, building staff represented by Teamsters are back on the job, while SEIU waits to see if its workers can return.

Before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Teamsters Local 727, which represents parking attendants at the residential/commercial complex, and Regents Park operators, MAC Property Management, reached an agreement returning Teamsters workers back to their jobs, effective immediately. The deal comes a month after Regents Park’s unionized employees were relieved of their duties upon the building’s sale Oct. 28 by Chicago-based housing operator Crescent Heights to New Jersey-based Antheus Capital, parent of MAC Property Management.

Under the deal, parking garage attendants will return to work on the conditions of a newly-signed, five-year master parking agreement between Teamsters 727 and the Chicago Parking Association, which represents over a hundred companies operating parking facilities in the area.  Standard Parking has an agreement with Antheus to manage the parking facilities at Regents Park, and both have signed off on a master agreement with the reemployed Teamsters workers.

After the building’s acquisition, and in the wake of the termination of Regents Park’s union employees, Antheus Capital and MAC were hit by a grievance from the Teamsters charging unfair labor practices. Members set up daily pickets outside the building to protest the move (demonstrations often accompanied by a giant, inflatable rat erected in front of the building’s East End Avenue entrance) and were joined in support by many building residents, who took to online petitions and public meetings to oppose the union workers’ terminations.

A representative for MAC said in an interview that all inquiries regarding the agreement should be directed to Regents Park staff.  Teamsters 727 said that aspects of the deal in its totality are still being worked out.

“Everything is still getting finalized right now,” said Maggie Jenkins, communications director for Teamsters 727.  “The most important thing is that our members are going back to work.”

Efforts by union officials and residents to rehire the building’s old workers have extended to Regents Park’s longtime concierge and maintenance staff, who also were let go upon Antheus Capital’s acquisition.  Members of SEIU Local 1 – which represents the concierge and maintenance workers – continue to strike outside the building as of Thursday morning and await word as to whether they’ll be rehired.  An SEIU spokeswoman told Red Eye that the organization is currently in negotiations with MAC about retuning the workers to their old positions.

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The platonic turkey drop /hyde-park/2011/12/01/the-platonic-turkey-drop/ /hyde-park/2011/12/01/the-platonic-turkey-drop/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2011 06:15:35 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2935523 Usually, when people talk about the “turkey drop,” they’re referring to a college freshman dumping his/her significant other from high school over Thanksgiving break. What people talk about less is something that I have decided to call the “platonic turkey drop,” for lack of a better phrase.

While teachers and parents would warn us in high school that we couldn’t expect to maintain our high school friendships once we went to college, they always made it sound like the start of freshman year would be some kind of abrupt break. This wasn’t true, at least for the people I know. Throughout freshman year, we were able to keep in touch reasonably often via Skype and post.

Obviously, people got a lot busier sophomore year and the communications trailed off quite a bit. So, Thanksgiving was the first chance since the start of the school year to really see old friends. In some cases, Thanksgiving break was a good opportunity to catch up with people I hadn’t really interacted with in a while. In other cases, the passing of Thanksgiving break seemed to crystallize the realization that there were people that I probably was not going to get back in touch with. In such cases, though, I’m not really sure who’s dropping whom.


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SHoP local at Fenn Fair /hyde-park/2011/11/30/shop-local-at-fenn-fair/ /hyde-park/2011/11/30/shop-local-at-fenn-fair/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2011 04:55:03 +0000 Melissa Conway /hyde-park/?p=2935502 I celebrate Christmas, and I enjoy much of the preparation and anticipation that goes with it. I love driving through neighborhoods and seeing the outside of homes glittering with lights, the insides lit up by sparkling Christmas trees in the front windows, and — I’ll say it — I always hope for snow on Christmas. Can you pass the egg nog please?

What I don’t love is the stress that goes along with making all that happen, especially the gift shopping.  There’s the pressure of deciding on the “perfect” gifts, the hassle of shopping for said gifts, and the frantic gift wrapping at the last possible second because I always put it off. Okay, so in re-reading that paragraph, some of that may be entirely avoidable on my part. But I digress…

If you can relate, or if the general consumerism of the holidays is getting you down, it might be time for some art therapy at SHoP during their Fenn Fair, “an exhibition and sale of multiples, prints, series, and groupings.” Buy handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gifts, experience some poety and film, or even make your own snow globe. And after you fill your soul with art, you can fill your stomach with a potluck supper.  There….don’t you feel better?

Below are some of the deets about the event. If you go, leave me a comment and tell me what you thought.


Fenn Fair at SHoP

December 2-4
5638 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL  60637

Fenn Fair is a weekend exhibition and art/craft sale of multiples and reproducible objects, that will kick off the one month exhibition, REPRODUCE+ABILITY. The exhibition will include printmakers, mixtape artists, self-publishers, photocopy artists, object and image-makers, and others. We dedicate this most commercial month of the year to small-scale arts production, workshops, roundtable discussions, films, and performance, emphasizing process and skill-sharing. If you make crafty art or artsy crafts and you want to sell your stuff, please contact us!

Friday = Fenn Fair Opening Preview
Buy interesting handmade gifts instead of spending your money on plastic junk at a big-box retailer.
DJ Curt Spins @ 6, Fire Escape Films @ 8, DJ Curt Spins @ 9

Saturday = Fenn Fair, Poetry, Film
Spend all day looking at interesting handmade gifts, then all evening celebrating reproducible art.
Fenn Fair 11-5, Doggerel & Poetry Show @ 6, “Typeface” screening @ 7, roundtable on letterpress @ 8, DJ Curt Spins @ 9

Sunday = Fenn Fair, Raffle & Auction, Potluck
Buy more art for relatives and friends, then have a chance to win some amazing stuff, then eat.
Fenn Fair 12-5, Art Raffle & Silent Auction @ 5, Potluck @ 6

It’s all part of


{An exhibition and workshop series emphasizing reproducible art
and the techniques used to make it.}

December will be packed with a series of artist run workshops:

  • make a short drawn animation film with animator Vicky Yen
  • bake the world’s best cookies with Lizzy Szwaya
  • make silkscreen prints with a Gocco with Clare Fentress
  • perfect the art of the mix-tape with Curtis Spins
  • make snow globes from old jars and found objects with Marvin Tate
  • “repair” a piece of old furniture with John Preus
  • felting with Suzanne Arata
  • knitting with Lindsay Obermeyer
  • more
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Jobs, open thoroughfare headed to Harper Court /hyde-park/2011/11/28/jobs-open-thoroughfare-headed-to-harper-court/ /hyde-park/2011/11/28/jobs-open-thoroughfare-headed-to-harper-court/#comments Mon, 28 Nov 2011 20:48:38 +0000 Nykeya Woods /hyde-park/?p=2903317

Here’s the good news about the job market: nearly 1,000 jobs are headed to Hyde Park, and more specifically 53rd Street thanks to the University of Chicago. The bad news is that those most of the positions won’t be available until 2013.

Amanda Koger was excited to learn the jobs slated for the Harper Court area would potentially bring life to the area. However, she wondered how many residents would land a position at the new U. of C. site.

“Of course it’s a feeling of excitement and hope,” said the 23-year-old Roosevelt University student. “However, I’ll leave my all out nostalgia until we can get the numbers of how many of those jobs actually go to the surrounding residents. Just because it’s in the community, doesn’t mean it benefits us.”

Koger, who recently interned at People Assisting the Homeless in Los Angeles, said her experience helped her gain perspective and appreciate having an income. She added that the experience also made her pay closer attention to career options and how to decipher her goals.

“I think the current state of our job market is shaky. On one hand you have people who have been trying to obtain employment for over a year,” Koger said. “But on the other side you read reports online where they tell you that the unemployment numbers are in a steady decline so it kind of clouds your judgment. All in all, I’m glad I have another year left for school.”

Recent reports suggest that the number of people across the country receiving unemployment benefits have dropped from 9.1 percent to 9 percent in October. Illinois added 30,000 jobs.

Nearly 800 construction workers will be building the 150,000-square-foot office tower, three-story retail building and hotel. Permanent jobs include 350 in retail and 150 in hospitality. Besides the new buildings, Harper Court will be a full access road. The cul-de-sac, which has been home to the summer Famer’s Market for several years, has already being destroyed. Harper Court LLC President Dave Cocagne said during a November groundbreaking that potentially “several that several hundred office workers can sit just on the opposite side of the site at the corner of 53rd and Lake Park.” Cocagne also said that tens of thousands of people will visit the new Harper Court.

“Harper Court will be the focal point for Hyde Park and the broader south side. This project will be transforming,” Cocagne said.

Koger said that she is looking for all the new amenities coming to the area.

“I think this is something that was needed. At one point the area on 53rd was looking a bit shabby. I think the stores that I’ve heard are supposed to come in the neighborhood, like the Whole Foods, will bring much needed employment and capital, a win-win situation, right?”

Besides, Whole Foods, LA Fitness and a new theater are headed to the neighborhood. Five Guys restaurant opened during the summer.

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The symbolism of “the drunk van” /hyde-park/2011/11/23/the-symbolism-of-the-drunk-van/ /hyde-park/2011/11/23/the-symbolism-of-the-drunk-van/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2011 22:54:18 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2903356 In class the other day, we read excerpts of Slim’s Table, written by sociologist Mitch Duneier about 20 years ago. In the book, some of the Hyde Park residents he interviewed felt that the “white buses” they saw were an insult to the neighborhood.

If you’ve spent time in Hyde Park at night, the “white buses” should be a familiar sight. They include the evening buses and “Safe Ride” (also known as “the drunk van,” although plenty of sober people ride it). I don’t know the extent to which the feelings expressed by Duneier’s subjects are shared by current Hyde Park residents, but it hadn’t occurred to me until now that some people thought that the bus system was offensive.

While there are certainly students here who think that they’d get mugged if they went south of the Midway after 6 p.m., it’s not as though every student who takes one of the shuttles wants nothing to do with Hyde Park residents. Sometimes you want to go places that are just too far to walk to. The weather is frequently unpleasant. As for the inebriated students, I think it’s probably in everybody’s best interest to get them back home as quickly as possible.

It’d be a shame for relations between college students and the community to be strained by a misinterpretation of motivations, although I’m aware that the shuttle system isn’t exactly at the top of the list of controversial issues.


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How I missed you, Trader Joe’s! /hyde-park/2011/11/22/how-i-missed-you-trader-joes/ /hyde-park/2011/11/22/how-i-missed-you-trader-joes/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2011 04:27:14 +0000 Melissa Conway /hyde-park/?p=2903322 One of the conveniences I gave up when I moved to Hyde Park was easy access to shopping. And for the most part, I’ve learned to deal, since I’m pretty cool with Internet shopping or venturing out of my ‘hood from time to time.

But Trader Joe’s is one of those places that sadly fell out of my rotation. It wasn’t until last weekend when I finally checked out the new Trader Joe’s on Roosevelt that I realized just how much I’ve missed that place.  It’s like being in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory…oh look, a dutch chocolate stream! Over there, a fair-trade-lollipop garden! It’s one of those places where there is virtually no risk to anything you want to try – if they sell it, chances are it’s decadent and you’re going to love it.

Don’t get me wrong, Whole Foods is just down the road, and that’s cool, but it’s such a different shopping experience. At Trader Joe’s, the customers seem happier, the staff seems friendlier, and the vibe is more neighborhood-y compared to its high-brow, high-priced city-cousin. And I like the smallness of it – it’s not everything under the sun, just the really good stuff.

Before I forget, I’d like to send a shout-out to the friendly cashier who noticed that my CTA card had dropped out of my wallet into my basket, and handed it over with an, “I got yer back, girl” wink, rather than the “here, dumb-ass” blank stare that I’ve become accustomed to at some other shopping establishments. So, THANK YOU, good-natured TJ employee. Sending some good mojo back your way!

Rumor has it that a Trader Joe’s could be headed for the old Borders store at 53rd and Lake in the not so distant future. Do I dare to dream? Could the first step towards shopping bliss finally be headed to Hyde Park? Can Toni Preckwinkle pull some strings for us and make this happen?

Trader Joe’s, 1147 S Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605

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So, how much is that engineering degree worth? /hyde-park/2011/11/18/so-how-much-is-that-engineering-degree-worth/ /hyde-park/2011/11/18/so-how-much-is-that-engineering-degree-worth/#comments Sat, 19 Nov 2011 05:16:28 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2903231 Here at the University of Chicago, all of the undergrads’ degrees have the same sticker price (which is obviously different from what you pay after financial aid into account). In contrast, University of Illinois charges different amounts for different majors. For example, a student who entered this fall would have to pay $11,848 for tuition per year for a degree in Journalism/Advertising, while someone in science, engineering, or business will have to pay $15,928.

Does this system make sense? My understanding is that U of I (and basically every other public college in the country) is a bit cash-strapped at the moment. I’m guessing that science and engineering programs take more money to run, what with the labs and everything. U of I’s science and engineering programs are very prestigious, so I guess they can justify charging more for those degrees. Plus, people with business or STEM degrees tend to get higher-paying jobs, so students will be willing to pay the extra money for tuition.

However, given that politicians are always complaining about how not enough Americans get STEM degrees, it seems a little perverse for public universities to be limiting the accessibility of those degrees. $4000 per year in tuition differences can be a lot of ground to make up for middle-class and working class families.


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Dr. Seuss Exhibit: So-so, or So-WHOA? /hyde-park/2011/11/18/dr-seuss-exhibit-so-so-or-so-whoa/ /hyde-park/2011/11/18/dr-seuss-exhibit-so-so-or-so-whoa/#comments Sat, 19 Nov 2011 04:42:47 +0000 Melissa Conway /hyde-park/?p=2903217 Dr. Seuss & The Art of Invention
October 13, 2011 – January 8, 2012
General Admission + Exhibit = $20 for adults 

Last week I had family in town, and was caught with the proverbial dilemma of how to entertain them while we were here. So we went to an old Hyde Park standby – the Museum of Science and Industry – to check out what was going on there. Baby chicks hatching? Check. Submarine exhibit? Check. Model train exhibit? Double check. And of course, the Fairy Castle (c’mon, you know you love it!)

While we were there, we decided to check out the new Dr. Seuss exhibit. The age range of our group ranged from 3 – 69, so we figured there would be something in it for everyone.

The first thing that was in it was a dose of extra-strength Excedrin for us all, as we entered the exhibit with not one, not two, but three large school groups of very rambunctious grade schoolers who were thrilled to be anywhere but at school. They were mesmerized by the Seussian guide in a blue lab coat demonstrating something he called Ooblek – which turned out to be a mixture of water and corn starch.

You would be surprised at how much there is to say about water and corn starch.

Overall, the exhibit felt like it belonged at the Art Institute rather than the MSI. That isn’t to suggest it was bad – it wasn’t – but it wasn’t nearly as experiential as I had imagined an exhibit like that could be at the MSI. I expected to walk in and feel as if I was jumping into a storybook – very Peter Pan like. Instead, the exhibit began with a traditional timeline of Theodore Seuss Geisel’s life – more encyclopedia-like.

Image: http://libraries.ucsd.edu

The majority of the exhibit is focused on his artwork. In addition to his literary prose about the trials and tribulations of green eggs and ham, he was an illustrator for advertisements and magazines. One example of his work that interested me was his political cartoons – he had a strong opinion that the U.S. should enter WWII, and illustrated a number of political cartoons on the subject. He also worked as an animator for the U.S. Army.

Image borrowed from Thomas Lee Gallery

Apparently, Theodor also had a dark side. He had a secret door to a studio in his home where he kept his “secret collection” – essentially a series of artwork that is still unmistakably his, with the typical Seussian-style characters, but in a more surreal form. He kept this side of his artwork private until after his death.

Overall, if you’re a big fan of Dr. Seuss, it’s worth checking out. But if you’re a big kid hoping to be whisked away to fantasy land of Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz’s and Pfiffer-Pfeffer-Pfeffs, you might be a little disappointed.


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SHoP Opens for Business /hyde-park/2011/11/18/shop-opens-for-business/ /hyde-park/2011/11/18/shop-opens-for-business/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2011 21:27:03 +0000 Kyle Coward /hyde-park/?p=2903208 At first blush walking down the street, the American Craftsman-era house at 5638 S. Woodlawn Ave. looks similar to the other sizable abodes lining the block adjoining the University of Chicago.  Look past the autumn leaves on the sidewalk and lawn – to where the door may be ajar on any random time of the day – and perhaps you’ll see bohemian types and others coming in and out through the doorway, as if some hub of artistic activity is generating.

It is a hub in fact – the Southside Hub of Production (SHoP) – the latest creative entrant in Hyde Park’s cultural scene that’s transformed a vacant 16-room building into a multi-use space of artistic installations, live performances, workshops and a host of community events.

And, for anyone who’s wondered inside SHoP since its October opening, if the place calls to mind something else familiar, chances are it’s that of the Op Shop, the erstwhile temporary art space at 1001 E. 53rd St. that’s SHoP’s predecessor.

“I had been thinking after the Op Shop how it would be nice to have a longer-term space and work directly with other non-profit organizations who were also doing great independent cultural productions,” said Laura Shaeffer, SHoP’s artistic director, who also founded the Op Shop. “The idea was to connect projects similar in mind, but in different areas of interest.”

The ephemeral nature of vacant, yet commercially-attractive, urban real estate – especially in Hyde Park, where large-scale property redevelopment is underway – greatly interests Shaeffer, particularly as it relates to how such spaces can be temporarily utilized to accommodate arts.  It’s what led Shaeffer to first open the Op Shop in 2009 in the former Hollywood Video location on 53rd Street, which from the beginning, had been planned as nothing more than a temporary space.

“The Op Shop was a kind of social experiment, which talked about the way we use space, and the way we abandon spaces in America to become decrepit and destroyed in the end,” she said, noting how such spaces could be used to cultivate as much civic appreciation for the arts as museums and other permanent fully-funded establishments.  “I was thinking a lot at that time about how our neighborhood really needed a lot of things that we couldn’t have, because they don’t produce the kind of financial foundation that could rent a space.”

Looking to continue the Op Shop’s mission after concluding its 53rd Street run last year (demolition of the building began late this summer), Shaeffer soon came across the opportunity to lease the Woodlawn Avenue space from the First Unitarian Church of Chicago, who own the Howard Van Doren Shaw-designed house located by the congregation.

“Even though we’re not affiliated with the church, in spirit, there are a lot of commonalities,” she says of the relationship between SHoP and the progressive-minded First Unitarian, which supports various community arts endeavors. “There’s the desire to have programming around the arts, to foster cooperation and a collaborative spirit.”

SHoP is currently renting the place on a year-to-year basis and isn’t sure if it will continue in its Woodlawn Avenue digs once its lease expires in the new year. As it stands, SHoP has a full itinerary of confirmed and planned events well into 2012, which are listed on its web site.

Shaeffer says she’s fond of SHoP’s current habitat and is intrigued by possibly staying on for an extended period.  But, she also embraces the concept of art as an itinerant experience that can reach people in various communities, rather than being centralized in one location.  As such, she doesn’t rule out continuing SHoP in a different iteration in a new location, carrying on the mission of the Op Shop.

“I think there’s a beautiful, carnivalesque poetry to the nomadic Op Shop model,” she said.  “There’s something very poetic and beautiful about moving to one block to the next, because you get to know people that you wouldn’t get to know.”

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Protests and “scheduling conflicts” /hyde-park/2011/11/16/protests-and-scheduling-conflicts/ /hyde-park/2011/11/16/protests-and-scheduling-conflicts/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2011 22:06:04 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2903143 The anticipated Condoleezza Rice talk at my school did not come to pass (yet) due to what we were informed was a “scheduling conflict.”

She had another fundraiser to go to, but I suspect that she also would not have been pleased about the prospect of having her talk disrupted by protesters. That’s fair, I guess. If I were headed out on a book tour, I wouldn’t want to be getting into confrontations with people either.

While I don’t think most of the student body feels strongly about Rice one way or another, a subset of the population was outraged that she was coming to campus and another subset was outraged at the first subset’s plans to express their outrage. Some people complained that protesting Rice’s presence would have been tremendously rude.

I agree that the protests would have been rude, but isn’t that kind of the point of protesting? Not to hurt people’s feelings, I mean, but to behave in a way that one wouldn’t typically in order to bring attention to one’s cause. Protesting is clearly a protected right. Once we’ve established that people have the right to protest, it’s hard to complain that they’re being impolite. Protests are supposed to be disruptive and maybe even occasionally obnoxious. If they’re law-abiding, I’m not sure what the problem is. Isn’t polite protesting just loitering?

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Occupy Chicago to celebrate postponement of Condoleeza Rice, Henry Paulson event /hyde-park/2011/11/14/occupy-chicago-to-celebrate-postponement-of-condoleeza-rice-henry-paulson-event/ /hyde-park/2011/11/14/occupy-chicago-to-celebrate-postponement-of-condoleeza-rice-henry-paulson-event/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2011 21:04:27 +0000 Erin Vogel /hyde-park/?p=2903113 Occupy Chicago plans to celebrate a small victory later: getting in the way of a Condoleeza Rice and Henry Paulson event at the University of Chicago that was supposed to occur today. Read more from Fox Chicago:

The University of Chicago postponed an event with Condoleeza Rice Monday that Occupy Chicago had planned to protest.

Occupy leaders had said they planned, in their words, to “un-welcome” Rice and Paulson. They said the two speakers represent big business’ negative influence on politics.

Read more: Occupy Chicago to Celebrate Postponement of Condoleeza Rice, Henry Paulson Event.

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The joys of incredibly vague announcements /hyde-park/2011/11/13/the-joys-of-incredibly-vague-announcements/ /hyde-park/2011/11/13/the-joys-of-incredibly-vague-announcements/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2011 00:12:47 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2903089 An official at my school just sent out a very vague e-mail about “freedom of expression.” 342 words, and all I got out of it was that “freedom of expression” is important.

While I wholeheartedly agree with the general concept, one of my pet peeves in life is wondering what prompts incredibly vague announcements from administrators. This isn’t strictly a college thing. In high school, every once in a while, the principal or one of the 3 assistant principals would get on the PA and say that they have been very disappointed by recent events. Sometimes those “recent events” were more obvious than others (i.e., when a coach’s arrest was front-page news on the Sun-Times). Other times, we’d have to let the rumor mill do its work (some kid got busted for buying drugs?)

Anyway, since we have been admonished to uphold freedom of expression, I am assuming that someone’s freedom of expression is somehow being infringed upon. But this is college. Someone’s freedom of expression is pretty much ALWAYS under attack, because people are busy disagreeing with one another. I’d like some details. I don’t wake up one day and say, “Hmm, I’m going to infringe on someone’s freedom of expression today.” Presumably, there are some specific actions that we’re not supposed to perform.

So, the guessing game starts anew. Does it have something to do with Hank Paulson and Condoleezza Rice speaking tomorrow? Maybe…

Does it have something to do with the controversy over Professor John Mearsheimer (but it seems as though Alan Dershowitz is frequently upset with Dr. Mearsheimer anyway…)

Or maybe people have just been leaving mean comments on other people’s Facebook pages. Who knows? This is why vague e-mails aren’t helpful.



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Swept away (by the winds) /hyde-park/2011/11/12/swept-away-by-the-winds/ /hyde-park/2011/11/12/swept-away-by-the-winds/#comments Sat, 12 Nov 2011 22:13:11 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2903063 At the very beginning of college, I often heard people complain about crossing the Midway during winter. I was perplexed as to what the problem was. Chicago winters have a reputation for being brutal, but these people weren’t complaining about crossing, say, Ellis Avenue in the middle of winter.

The thing is, when you’re around the Midway during the autumn, spring, or summer, it just seems like a nice, grassy place where people play frisbee and soccer. It’s also not particularly wide. (Maybe a block?). I thought to myself, “Surely I can cross one measly block in the winter.” I figured that growing up in Chicago ought to have toughened me up for the winters at college.

Oh, boy, I was kind of wrong. I did grow up in Chicago, but nowhere near the lake. If you have had the misfortune of having to cross the Midway several times each day during the winter, you are probably familiar with how ridiculously windy it can get. The design of the Midway is a little questionable. Having a strip of land extend nearly all the way to the lake without any intervening buildings probably made being swept away by the wind inevitable. Walking upright during the winter is basically a losing battle.

And in case you were wondering, watching fellow students bobbing in the wind is not quite the same as watching this video of a family of ducks being swept off their feet (don’t worry, they’re all okay at the end):

Click here to view the embedded video.



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Styling through the ages at U of C /hyde-park/2011/11/11/styling-through-the-ages-at-u-of-c/ /hyde-park/2011/11/11/styling-through-the-ages-at-u-of-c/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2011 23:42:55 +0000 Kyle Coward /hyde-park/?p=2903003 Contrary to belief, the Chicago Manual of Style is not some etiquette compendium championing urbane Midwestern couture.  What it lacks in fashion runway appeal, however, it’s been more than making up in scholarly sway over the last 100 years. It’s a guidebook that amongst American academics, writers and publishers of the humanities, has become a default reference of proper grammatical and punctuation structure.

Originally published in 1906 by the University of Chicago Press, the manuscript first appeared under the very lengthy title of “Manual of Style: Being a Compilation of the Typographical Rules in Force at the University of Chicago – to Which are Appended Specimens of Types in Use.”  It’s ditched the long name in the decades since, and in the present time appears under the moniker “The Chicago Manual of Style,” which last year printed its 16th edition.

The longevity and influence of the style – most often referred in shorthand as the “Chicago Style” – were the focus of “The Chicago Manual: More Than a Century of Style,” a lecture held Tuesday night at U of C’s International House moderated by Alison Cuddy, host of WBEZ’s civic news program Eight Forty-Eight (the lecture can be viewed on U of C’s YouTube page).  To get more on the Chicago Manual’s seminal reach, RedEye talked to Ellen Gibson, marketing manager for reference at the University of Chicago Press:

RE: When it comes to iconoclastic writing styles used in the States, the list really isn’t that long.  There’s APA, MLA, and several others, and then there’s the Chicago Manual of Style.  What is it about this style that it’s been able to stick with writers over the years?
EG: The Chicago Manual of Style started out as a guide for our editorial department to work with our printing department over a hundred years ago.  The guidelines they developed, it seemed as though a lot of people found them handy, so over time, we kept adding to the book more guidelines for writers, editors, authors and proofreaders to lay out all the different issues you come across when writing something for publication.  Other style guides are specific guides for disciplines or professions, such as the AP guide for reporters or the APA guide being the academic style for psychology and other fields.  The Chicago Style is most used for history and humanities.

RE: Was there some specific happening in the publishing world that made the Chicago Style the default style for history and other humanities fields?
EG: Different academic disciplines adopt their style for different reasons.  There’s no exact reason why the history field has adopted the Chicago Style, but it is a very commonsense citation style.  Chicago citation style is probably even more used in the Turabian style guide that we do – which is more geared towards students – whereas the Manual itself is more geared towards authors, writers and editors.

RE: If you’ve ever attended graduate school (Full disclosure: I was once a grad student myself), you become quite familiar with the Chicago Style when writing papers at that educational level.  Does it tend to be more used by grad level students than undergrads?
EG: It really depends on the teacher and the discipline and the school.  Certainly, Turabian style is used often when people are writing Master’s theses and dissertations.  But the Chicago Manual of Style is really the bible of the publishing industry, so for editors, it’s the book for editors, especially those working with non-fiction scholarly books.

RE: It’s fair to say that since its inception, the reach of the Chicago Style has spread out beyond the States.
EG: Yes, especially in English-language countries.  We do have a lot of sales in India, where there are a lot of software companies writing manuals, and are referring to the Chicago Style for publication processes and general style recommendations.

RE: How is the Chicago Manual of Style - originally published in the analog era of the typewriter - adapting to the current climate of the digital age?
EG: The new book has all kinds of information on electronic citations of things like blogs and websites.  And it also has new appendices on XML workflow and all the things you need to know when publishing for the digital age.

RE: On a humorous note, has there always been some sort of rivalry between other styles like APA and MLA as to which one has supremacy amongst writers?
EG: We have a lot of followers on our Facebook page, and a lot of times we hear people jokingly fighting about the serial comma, which AP does not use and we do (RedEye and its sister publication the Tribune, which follow AP style, do not employ serial commas).  But it’s all friendly rivalries.  We feel that as long as you care about these things, no matter whose style you use, we’re happy for you.

RE: At the end of the day, it must be neat to think of the Chicago Style and say, “Take that Harvard, Yale and Northwestern, we have a comprehensive publishing style and you don’t!”
EG: (Laughs) Well, we’re not really competing against them, they all use the book.

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First (incredibly brief) snow! /hyde-park/2011/11/11/first-incredibly-brief-snow/ /hyde-park/2011/11/11/first-incredibly-brief-snow/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2011 16:56:36 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2903000 What a difference 20 minutes can make in how a campus looks. Yesterday, at about 3 pm, it suddenly started flurrying. The snow came down surprisingly fast at about the same time that everybody was rushing to the next class. There also happened to be a group of students braving the cold to chant something in protest of something (it was actually difficult to tell what they were saying or who they were protesting due to all of the commotion. I would guess, however, that it was either related to Occupy Chicago or the Adidas worker compensation dispute.)

When I came out of a building at about 3:20 pm, the snow and all the people were completely gone and the main quad was completely silent. Alas, the first snow of the year was ephemeral.

Nevertheless, as you might be able to predict, there were plenty of Facebook status updates about snow. It tended to be the first-year students who got more excited. The world-wearied second year students I know had a gloomier response to it. One person wrote, “lol at all the first years running around outside screaming about the snow…we’ll see how they like it three weeks into winter quarter >D”

While I do think that snow is beautiful, I am firmly in the camp of the other second-years. The weather and the lack of daylight indeed makes winter quarter a far gloomier time than the other two quarters. Combined with all the neo-Gothic architecture on campus and the very limited artificial lighting after dark, it can feel like we’re all living in Beast’s castle, waiting for Belle to come so that it can be sunny and warm again.


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Today in odd headlines /hyde-park/2011/11/08/today-in-odd-headlines/ /hyde-park/2011/11/08/today-in-odd-headlines/#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2011 03:40:24 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2902953 Nutter secures second term” in the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

I’m not familiar with Philadelphia’s local politics, so when I saw the headline, my reaction was, “Wow, that’s a really insulting way of describing a politician.” Then I read further and realized that Nutter is the surname of the mayor. Whoops. I feel a little silly now.

A part of me has always wanted to write headlines for newspapers. I feel as though good headline writing is underappreciated. It’s really an art form. A lot of The Onion‘s articles peak at the headline (although the stories are great too). I bet that writing headlines is tricky, though. Since you’re not really obeying the normal rules of grammar, you run the risk of writing something that can be totally misinterpreted (which basically forms the basis of Jay Leno’s long-running Headlines segment).

But you don’t really want to write a headline that’s too dry, either. RedEye and the Tribune are pitched at different audiences, which seems to be obvious just by glancing at the headlines. It’s not just the topics that are different; the headlines are very clearly written in a different style. RedEye gets to have a lot more fun with puns.

I think the gold standard for headlines, though, (other than the Onion‘s fake headlines) is the New York Post. However you feel about the quality of the newspaper (which I don’t actually read, by the way), it’s amazing how the Post can come up with so many headlines that at once prompt me to gasp and mentally award the copy editors a slow clap. “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar” is definitely classic.

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Daylight in the morning or the afternoon? /hyde-park/2011/11/05/daylight-in-the-morning-or-the-afternoon/ /hyde-park/2011/11/05/daylight-in-the-morning-or-the-afternoon/#comments Sat, 05 Nov 2011 14:55:33 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2899477 Now that Daylight Saving Time is ending this weekend, the afternoons are going to be depressingly dark. I never really liked it when DST ended, although I did appreciate the extra hour in the fall since that tends to be a busy time of year for me.

Obviously, the number of hours of daylight doesn’t change just because we change the clocks (although of course it changes according to time of year). What I’m wondering is, is it better for us to have more daylight in the morning or in the afternoon?

I come down on the side of afternoon. When I was in high school, I got up at 6:15 and got out of school at 3:00. Once you factor in extracurricular activities, I was hardly ever home before dark during the winter months. I guess the argument for more daylight in the morning is that its safer to travel, but for me it was basically a matter of choosing which time I would travel in the dark anyway.

In college, I’m betting that few people’s days start at 6:15. I think it’s more common for people to wake up at 8 or 9 on weekdays (even later if their classes don’t start until noon).

The real argument, though, isn’t about the November to March clocks. That’s the default. Daylight savings time from November to March is what causes debate (so I hear…I don’t really hear people heatedly discussing DST). The Washington Post has a blog post that presents a few arguments for and against (safety issues, energy savings or lack thereof, effect on tourism…). Has anyone ever studied these issues, or are we just throwing arguments out there?

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So, how about that NaNoWriMo? /hyde-park/2011/11/03/so-how-about-that-nanowrimo/ /hyde-park/2011/11/03/so-how-about-that-nanowrimo/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2011 18:03:51 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2899427 I know a lot of aspiring writers who have at some point dipped their toes into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The idea is to try to write a 50,000 word novel in November. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve always wondered what it would be like to try to pump out that many words in that little time.

I’m the kind of person who always finds writing to be a laborious process. I do like writing (otherwise this post wouldn’t exist), but I constantly go back and feel compelled to modify what I wrote. With NaNoWriMo, though, you’re probably going to have to spill out all of your ideas at once before you get a chance to edit.

On the one hand, 50,000 of unedited prose is probably going to sound rather sloppy. On the other hand, I think that if you’re constantly in writing mode, you’re eventually going to produce a few fragments that are worth expanding on.

The process might even be a little like writing these blog entries. With three entries a week, some mediocre posts are going to slip through. Hopefully, though, a few good ones will be produced too. If you never start writing, you won’t produce anything mediocre, but you’ve also ruled out the possibility of producing anything good.

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Mayor Emanuel joins parents to remember children lost to violence /hyde-park/2011/11/02/mayor-emanuel-joins-parents-to-remember-children-lost-to-violence/ /hyde-park/2011/11/02/mayor-emanuel-joins-parents-to-remember-children-lost-to-violence/#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2011 18:01:51 +0000 Erin Vogel /hyde-park/?p=2894667 Mayor Emanuel visited Saint Sabina Church on the South Side on Tuesday night to present opening remarks for this week’s memorial events honoring dead schoolchildren:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined with parents on the South Side Tuesday night to remember 263 schoolchildren killed by violence in the city in recent years.

“I want you to know your city is with you, you are not alone,” Emanuel told an audience packed with visibly grieving survivors.

Read more: Mayor Emanuel joins parents to remember children lost to violence

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Oh no, another round of No Shave November /hyde-park/2011/11/02/oh-no-another-round-of-no-shave-november/ /hyde-park/2011/11/02/oh-no-another-round-of-no-shave-november/#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2011 06:23:03 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2894663 Can you believe that we only have two months left in 2011? I’m not sure how I feel about the month of November. True, we get Thanksgiving, but that also means work tends to pile up in the first few weeks because we’re in such a rush to finish things before Thanksgiving.

And, even worse, we have No Shave November. If you are fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with it, No Shave November is observed by various men (occasionally women as well) who abstain from shaving in November (the name is pretty descriptive, isn’t it?).

The most hilarious thing is that it’s not always immediately obvious whether someone is in fact participating. I assert this without real evidence, but I get the feeling that No Shave November is observed primarily by high schoolers and college students. At least a few of them seem to have chosen to grow out their facial hair primarily to prove that they could. More often than not, though, I’d hear someone remarking in late November that he hadn’t shaved since October. Then I would stare incredulously, looking for evidence that he had not been shaving. Suffice it to say, there’s nothing particularly special about No Shave November when one has technically been participating in it since the first year of his existence.


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Haunted Hyde Park /hyde-park/2011/10/31/haunted-hyde-park/ /hyde-park/2011/10/31/haunted-hyde-park/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2011 04:01:07 +0000 Nikki Yagoda /hyde-park/?p=2894630 In honor of Halloween, I decided to find the most haunted places in Hyde Park. Did I see any actual ghosts? Unfortunately, no. But, to make it up to you, I promise I won’t write this entire article in the orange-text-on-black-background that seems to dominate the websites on the topic.

The first spot up on the list? The Museum of Science and Industry.

This ghost isn’t so much in The MSI as it is around it. In May of 1924, Leopold and Loeb (two UChicago Students) attempted to carry out the perfect crime. If the story sounds familiar, it’s either because you love folklore, or because of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, which was based on the two young murderers. While Leopold and Loeb aren’t haunting anything in particular, their defense attorney Charles Darrow has certainly earned himself a reputation. Known as the Attorney of the Damned for his tendenc y to successfully defend murders. In 1924, he reduced Leopold and Loeb’s sentence from the death penalty to life in prison. Although his ashes were scattered over the Jackson Park Lagoon, many claim to see his ghost haunting the grounds of the Museum. Many claim to have seen him sitting on the back steps of the museum, wearing a 1930’s era suit. In the afterlife, he is best known for ruining (enhancing?) tourist pictures with strange fog and ghostly orbs.

Franks Family Mansion

Even though Leopold and Loeb might refrain from haunting the Hyde Park community, it seems that their victim Bobby Franks, can’t get enough of it. Franks is said to haunt this Kenwood mansion, making periodic appearances in various spooky situations. The mansion used to be a preschool until recently, when presumably the constant appearances of Franks drove all of the children insane and it had to be shut down. The mansion is creepy enough, especially now that it has fallen into disuse. I can’t help but think how much more interesting it would be in Franks, another former UChicago student, decided to haunt the main campus. Oh well, I guess that will always be available for Leopold and Loeb.

Shoreland Hotel


Although I have been able to find absolutely zero confirmations of this online, I was literally bombarded with ghostly tales of Al Capone’s haunting escapades when I lived in the old Shoreland Hotel a few years ago. The mini mart on the first floor, named Capone’s after the famous gangster, practically rides this ghost storie’s coat tails for its very name.  Although I never witnessed anything strange in Capone’s, several students reported seeing Capone himself while studying in the second floor reading rooms. While it would be fantastic to think that Capone chose his final resting place in the Shoreland hotel, I can’t help but think that he might be frequenting some sort of speak easy instead. Now that the Shoreland is closed to the public, I suppose Capone and all of his dead ghost friends can roam the halls unimpeded.

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The limits of education /hyde-park/2011/10/29/the-limits-of-education/ /hyde-park/2011/10/29/the-limits-of-education/#comments Sat, 29 Oct 2011 19:41:09 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2883821 I happened to sit down at a dining hall table in the middle of a conversation about where people might live next year. The boy turned to me, thought for a few seconds, and said while giggling, “You should live at 39th and King Drive!”

“Yeah,” a girl added. “And you could open a halfway house there!”

Hmm. If my knowledge of Chicago geography serves me correctly, 39th and King is in Bronzeville. I wasn’t quite sure what the girl was implying, but I got the feeling that they wouldn’t find it nearly as amusing to suggest that I move to Lincoln Park or Wicker Park and open a halfway house. I opted to reply that Bronzeville was not in fact merely a repository for unreformed criminals.

“I know,” said the girl defensively. “I actually know a lot about Bronzeville, because I’m taking a class on it.”

A class can only get you so far. While I’m not going to pretend that Chicago’s South Side doesn’t have any problems, it’s a little bit disturbing when some of my classmates think that it is some kind of dystopia filled with crackhouses and muggers. This is by no means a common problem. Nevertheless, I am never quite sure how to respond when they express horror at the idea of going south of 61st Street or having to take the Green Line. It should be self-evident that thousands of Chicagoans manage to do just that, and life goes on as usual.


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Bank fee hikes: What they’re saying in Hyde Park /hyde-park/2011/10/28/bank-fee-hikes-what-theyre-saying-in-hyde-park/ /hyde-park/2011/10/28/bank-fee-hikes-what-theyre-saying-in-hyde-park/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2011 16:07:34 +0000 Kyle Coward /hyde-park/?p=2883766

With the recent federal enactment of the Durbin Amendment, which reduces the costs banks can charge merchants and retailers for debit card transactions, several big banks have responded by introducing new customer fees for debit cards and checking accounts.

Shortly before the amendment–which is part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act–took effect on Oct. 1, Bank of America announced it would soon add a $5 monthly fee for customers swiping debit cards for purchases.  Not long thereafter, Citibank revealed it would add additional fees to customer checking accounts and raise minimum balance requirements.  And national banks Wells Fargo and Chase have been testing customer fees in some of its markets, with regional players like Atlanta-based SunTrust and Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial (which operates branches throughout Illinois) following suit.

The rise in fees has been accompanied by a public backlash towards the hikes in particular, and depending on whom you ask, might be emblematic of a larger ire towards banks as evident by phenomena like the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Against this backdrop, RedEye went around Hyde Park–home to branches of Bank of America, Citibank, and Chase –and asked current and former residents of the area for their views on the hikes and the state of the banking system.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Bank of America became the latest bank in the last several days to cancel fees for customers using their debit cards.  The news comes on the heels of announcements made Monday by SunTrust and Regions Financial that they would end the testing of debit card fees in selected markets.  

As first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Friday, JP Morgan Chase will stop charging fees to customers for debit card transactions, after months of testing in selected markets.  The move coincides with Wells Fargo’s announcement, also on Friday, that it would likewise cease its debit fee tests.  

Peter Damm, 23, Logan Square (formerly of Hyde Park)
“It sucks because the banks have the volume to invest money, and especially for people who have checking accounts, by and large they’re the ones who are going to get hit the hardest.  Pretty much to do anything, you need a debit card, and so you’re screwing people who are trying to be responsible with their money.”

Jane Kehoe, 22, Humboldt Park (formerly of Hyde Park)
“It’s obviously a bad idea to be raising checking fees because first of all, none of us really have any money, and if they want us to continue banking with them, they might want to make it affordable.  Second of all, banks don’t realize how angry everyone is with them already, and this is only going to make it worse and not exactly improve the relationship between big banks and little people in general.”

Hugh Wynne, 23, Hyde Park
“It’s kind of annoying that my bank is charging me for this card that allows me to access my account.  In my opinion, if my bank is going to try to make more money, so that they have more cash on hand to give people mortgages that they can foreclose on, it seems like a corruption of any kind of capitalist system to charge your layman more money, so you can finance stupid stuff that nobody even knows what you do.  I think they should be taxing something other than the guy with the checking account.”

Emma Greenbaum, 23, Hyde Park
“I think it’s a really bad trend, specifically because paying with a debit card has become so pervasive, and most money is electronic now.  And if the banks start imposing fees now for debit card use, it sets a bad precedent and could lead to much higher fees later on.”

Tom Gaulke, 30, formerly of Hyde Park (currently works in the neighborhood)
“I think if the banks are really concerned with the bottom line, they should stop giving their top executives million-dollar bonuses at the end of the year so they could use it as tax writeoffs, instead of charging people at the bottom who really don’t have any money right now.”

Evan Moriarty, 22, Hyde Park
“I would say that bank customers are having a hard time figuring out why these fees are coming in, in a day when banks seem like they’re doing decently well.  It seems like the banks are saying that they need more money, that they need these fees to subsist and provide the services they provide.  But I think people are having a hard time reconciling these banks’ profit margins they read in the paper, and the increase in fees.”

Dan Forbush, 22, Wicker Park (formerly of Hyde Park)
“I think it’s really strange that banks are pretending to be on the side of the customer, because for so long now they haven’t been, and they’re becoming larger and larger corporations. When 20 or 25 banks have become three or four banks over the last 10 years, it’s just really disturbing to think that banks are trying to actually present themselves as if they’re on your side.”

Annie Driscoll, 21, Hyde Park
“When we think of banks, we think of somewhere to put our money to keep it safe.  But in reality, it’s become a place where if you put your money in there and you try to get it out, they’re taking it away from you.  It just seems less safe to put your money in there.”

Lizzie Bright, 23, Uptown (formerly of Hyde Park)
“It’s always been in the banks’ interest to rip off the customer, so I’m not that surprised.”

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Why football? /hyde-park/2011/10/27/why-football/ /hyde-park/2011/10/27/why-football/#comments Thu, 27 Oct 2011 23:46:04 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2883736 Homecoming was just a little while ago, and I have to admit that I’m not sure who we were playing against or whether we even won. This is not because I’m lacking in school spirit; rather, I just don’t know much about football.

I always hear this little gasp of amazement from others when I confess my indifference to football. It’s like saying you don’t eat chocolate or you don’t think pandas are cute.

It’s not that I don’t like sports. I’m not an avid follower, but I pay attention when the soccer World Cup or the Olympics roll around. I like watching swim competitions and figure skating. While I don’t go out of my way to watch more standard sports, I have at least managed to maintain interest throughout games of soccer, basketball, and baseball.

Why does football seem to have this primacy in our sporting culture? I can understand why people are interested, but what I don’t get is what sets football apart from baseball and basketball, which are also very popular sports in the U.S. Why is homecoming usually centered around football? There are some schools that hold homecoming for basketball teams, but I think those tend to be the ones without football teams.

I am going to surmise that I am not the first person who has wondered why football is so much bigger than other sports. People who know a lot more about sports than I do have probably already written long essays about this topic. Nevertheless, it’d be nice to celebrate a few other sports for a change.

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Regenstein Renovations /hyde-park/2011/10/25/regenstein-renovations/ /hyde-park/2011/10/25/regenstein-renovations/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2011 06:56:03 +0000 Nikki Yagoda /hyde-park/?p=2874676 I have been holding my tongue about the new renovations at the Regenstein Library until I had a chance to get an extensive feel for how everything was working out. Now that I have spent a ridiculous amount of time in the library, I feel that I am able to form a relevant opinion.
(1) Computers – In general, the new computers and layout system work out much better than the old system. There seem to be more computers available (for instance, I didn’t have to wait for 20 minutes to find an available public computer today) and more people using them for serious things (i.e. not facebook). Also, in case it wasn’t obvious, newer computers are better! Swivel monitors, new keyboards and faster processors are all contributing to a general rise in happiness. Even with all of this progress, I still have a bone to pick with the school about the placement of the computers. In case you aren’t intimately acquainted with the interior of the Regenstein (and you know, have a life or something), the old layout included groups of 4 computers, arranged so that you occupied your own mini-cubicle space. You couldn’t see the other people in your quad, you didn’t know if they were looking at sports scores or academic journals, and in general, you were happy. Now, the school has decided that long, uninterrupted rows of mounted monitors are the ideal situation. And they’re right, aesthetically. The whole thing looks very studious and modern. However, it actually rather sucks practically. Unless you are really good at ignoring your peripheral vision, you are going to notice every single thing that happens on your neighbors computer screen. And I don’t personally care if they are doing the most interesting thing possible on it; if it doesn’t relate to the essay I’m trying to write in the next 2 hours, I really don’t want to see it. The long table is also creating partitioning issues, because no one knows how much desk space they are allotted. This means that you’re more than likely to end up sandwiched between two people who both think that they are entitled to the right hand side of the desk as well as the left hand side. Even though the library has maintained that each individual will get three feet of space, that doesn’t really count for much if most of that space is already littered with your neighbor’s empty water bottles and the stack of books she may/may not want to look at at some point in the future.
(2) Tech desk – Actually, this part is pretty freaking awesome. Similar to the mac genius bar, although not actually designed for extensive technical help, the Tech Desk is now operating and willing to give out laptops, Ipads and digital cameras to qualifying library users. People, this is awesome. Even if for some reason you are independently wealthy and can afford every piece of technological equipment that catches your eye, the convenience level is amazing. Forget your laptop and have to go to a document-heavy class? No problem, just stop by the Tech Bar and grab one. Want to impress your rich friends by pretending to own an Ipad? Just stop by!
(3) Ex Libris – Unfortunately, the new ex libris café isn’t open yet. This means that in place of coffee, I now get to stare at a giant plastic curtain that barely obscures signs of construction. I’m sure that the café will be awesome when it opens, and I respect the school’s integrity in not changing the name or staff, but I really don’t think they understand my schedule. Note to the school: It’s midterms. I’m in the reg. If the new one isn’t open yet, then the old one should be. Other bad news about ex libris: it might take even longer to open than one might imagine. Library personnel informed me that even once the rennovations are completely done, it could take an additional month to get the health inspector certificate. Guess it’s more plastic curtains for us.
All in all, despite my complaints, the renovations are pretty awesome. It fits in much better with the highly streamlined look of the Manssueto dome, and it offers new services (and who doesn’t like that!) Even if you’re not a student, it would be worth a look. Temporary library passes are available at the opening of the library, right in front of the renovation sign.

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The city that occasionally sleeps /hyde-park/2011/10/24/the-city-that-occasionally-sleeps/ /hyde-park/2011/10/24/the-city-that-occasionally-sleeps/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2011 05:06:42 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2874619 In one of the campus stores, there’s a Red Bull advertisement saying, “Nobody ever wishes they slept more in college.”

They’re probably right. I’ll hear people complain about how tired they are at the moment, but they’ll forget how tired they were a week or a month ago. Even so, is Red Bull cultivating a healthy attitude?

Obviously, Red Bull is just trying to sell a product that people take to stay awake. I can’t blame them for encouraging people to be sleep-deprived. However, I feel that a lot of people buy into that idea. Once, when one of my teachers heard us complain about how tired we were, she just shrugged and said, “You can sleep when you die.” We were in eighth grade at the time.

I get the impression that being tired is seen as a sign of weakness. Now that we have Red Bull and coffee (and some not-so-legal substances for the more desperate), it’s like we don’t really have an excuse to be tired anymore. After all, if someone else can operate on 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night, why can’t you?

I find this attitude to be rather silly. It’s not like we sleep because we’re lazy or we lack the discipline to stay awake. Last time I checked, sleep was a necessity, somewhere on the level of eating and breathing.

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In Charlie Brown’s world /hyde-park/2011/10/21/in-charlie-browns-world/ /hyde-park/2011/10/21/in-charlie-browns-world/#comments Sat, 22 Oct 2011 04:47:25 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2874585 I was feeling very confused about why there were so many adults milling around the dorms and dining halls today until I remembered that it was parents’ weekend at my college.

College is weird in that nearly everyone present is an adult, but it feels like very few people are. It doesn’t seem like we’re children, either, but more like we’re in a bit of a suspended state. Even the adults who are 5 to 10 years older than me seem closer to my age than my high school teachers who were also 5 to 10 years older.

For the most part, then, being in college feels like being at camp, but with an incredible amount of homework. Alternatively, it can feel a little bit like Charlie Brown’s world, where the children direct themselves and the grownups are in the background, with unintelligible speech issuing forth.

It’s a little jarring, then, to see parents out and about on campus. Hyde Park can feel like a bubble sometimes, with college inside and the rest of the “real world” (family, high school friends, etc) outside.  When I think about parents in the context of college, I envision them shepherding freshmen to their rooms on move-in day and shepherding seniors off-campus on graduation day. Otherwise, it’s almost as surreal as spotting a unicorn on campus.

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Phli moves to Pilsen /hyde-park/2011/10/21/phli-moves-to-pilsen/ /hyde-park/2011/10/21/phli-moves-to-pilsen/#comments Fri, 21 Oct 2011 17:24:00 +0000 Kyle Coward /hyde-park/?p=2872903  

Phli’s on the move again.

When Phli Worldwide store had its grand reopening last June in Hyde Park, many inside and outside the neighborhood turned out en masse to celebrate the return of the hip-hop apparel fixture that had been away for a brief spell.

For many of the store’s patrons, chances are they’ve been caught off guard recently if they’ve spotted a “For Lease” sign in the window of Phli, 1613 E. 55th St. So what’s up with the departure?

“At the end of the day, one door closes and another one opens,” says Dave Jeff, chief architect of Phli, describing literally his decision to shut down the business in Hyde Park exactly one month ago this past Thursday.

Re-emerging at the Lacuna Artists Loft Studio in Pilsen, Jeff explains that the move came about after the end of the business relationship between him and his management partner, due to competing visions over how the store–which he prefers to reference as a “brand”–should be run.

“In anything in business, you and your partner need to be on the same page, and it turned out that we weren’t,” Jeff said.  “With my blood, sweat and tears in the brand, and this being my baby, we had to do something different.”

The Hyde Park roots of Phli–a backwards acronym for “I Love Hyde Park”–go back to 2003, when it first opened for business at the Harper Court Shopping Center.  In a neighborhood that’s long been a Chicago haven for hip-hop culture (laying claim to the rapper Common, an active community of graffiti artists and WHPK-FM, which had one of the nation’s first hip-hop shows with the “J.P. Chill Show”) Phli’s selection of hip-hop-inspired attire and name-brand sneakers became a standout in its own right.

Temporarily shutting down in early 2009 after the closing of the Harper Court building, Phli re-opened on June 11, 2010, in its 55th Street location.  In addition to the clothing business, the new store included an Internet bar and a barbershop, and played host to various after-hours events–including ones for rappers such as Rick Ross and Lupe Fiasco, as well as one for the re-launch of the classic Electronic Arts video game NBA Jam, which brought out Bulls forward Kyle Korver as a host.

For Phli’s new Pilsen home, Jeff said the flavor of its former Hyde Park spot will make its way to the new destination, albeit with a few changes, as he transitions away from footwear and concentrates on Phli’s branded clothing apparel.  Many of these new pieces will end up as the store’s “Cove Crew” selection–an homage to longtime Hyde Park tavern the Cove–with designs inspired by the work of recently deceased Chicago artist Lenwood “Cam” Hearon, known in the city’s graffiti circles by his handle, “DARE.”

Jeff, who is in the process of redesigning Phli’s website, will also host an official store opening for the new location next month.  Envisioning the new location more as a wholesaler than a retailer–open every day except Sunday from noon to 7, by appointment –Jeff insists the spirit of Hyde Park will live on with Phli in Pilsen.

“When you come to new space, you’re going to get Phli, everything that you know about it and loved about it,” he said.  “When the new showroom is at 100 percent, it will be like we didn’t skip a beat.”

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$1 trillion isn’t as special as it used to be /hyde-park/2011/10/20/1-trillion-just-isnt-as-special-as-it-used-to-be/ /hyde-park/2011/10/20/1-trillion-just-isnt-as-special-as-it-used-to-be/#comments Fri, 21 Oct 2011 00:50:30 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2872900 Fun fact: This year, student loan debt in the U.S. is projected to reach $1 trillion, according to the Washington Post.

Debt isn’t something that my friends and acquaintances talk about much. Some people manage to get through college without any, thanks to either good financial aid from school, outside scholarships, or relatively affluent relatives. Even so, I would guess that the majority of the people I know are taking out loans of some kind.

How does one even visualize $1 trillion? I can’t. Nowadays, I occasionally pass time while waiting in line to purchase something by computing how many hours of work it would take for me to cover the cost of whatever I’m buying. My lab notebook is about 3 hours. My dinner is about 1 hour. I certainly wouldn’t want to start computing how many total hours people would have to work to pay off that $1 trillion.

I remember that the number 100 was a big deal in kindergarten. 100 was so large that we had projects that involved counting out 100 of some object (pieces of candy, pennies, etc.) in order to visualize just how big 100 really was.

Obviously, 100 didn’t seem like such a large number as the years wore on. If you’ve ever watched Austin Powers, you probably remember the scene when Dr. Evil realizes $1 million isn’t very much anymore.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Even $100 billion isn’t a lot anymore. If someone asked me to guess the total amount of outstanding student loan debt in the country, I probably would have guessed something less than $100 billion. Now that different debt figures in the U.S. can be measured in the trillions, I guess one trillion isn’t as special as it used to be.




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It’s not possible to exaggerate about Chicago weather /hyde-park/2011/10/19/its-not-possible-to-exaggerate-about-chicago-weather/ /hyde-park/2011/10/19/its-not-possible-to-exaggerate-about-chicago-weather/#comments Wed, 19 Oct 2011 20:09:38 +0000 Jane Huang /hyde-park/?p=2872872 Ok, the title of this post is an exaggeration.

Still, even having lived in Chicago for about a decade and a half, I manage to be surprised by Chicago weather. I know a lot of people who are relatively new to Chicago, and they always assume that I must be used to the weather by now. Not so.

First, your experience of the weather changes as you get older. For instance, when I was five years old, the prospect of one foot of snow on the ground sounded excellent. There wasn’t as much opportunity to play in the snow as you might think (my school banned students from even picking up the snow within the school’s vicinity), but the potential was still there. Then, as I got older, the idea of one foot of snow on the ground sounded pretty terrible, since that meant I’d have to get up extra early to account for the inevitable CTA delays.

Second, the weather is hardly consistent. I was chatting with a friend who was on break last week, and we came to the conclusion that there is a moderately strong correlation between her presence in Chicago and how high temperatures are. A big part of this, of course, is that summer and spring break are scheduled for times of the year that are theoretically warm (never mind the spring breaks where it snowed). However, I also recalled that during our winter break last year, it was in the 50s on New Year’s Eve (it’s only 46 degrees as I’m writing this post), and the temperatures hit the 80s last week. The lows this week are threatening to be merely half of what the highs were last week. Of course, this relationship is dependent on the temperature scale we’re using. Nevertheless, I’d like a little more predictability in the weather.

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Black lights and screen prints /hyde-park/2011/10/17/black-lights-and-screen-prints/ /hyde-park/2011/10/17/black-lights-and-screen-prints/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2011 02:13:33 +0000 Nikki Yagoda /hyde-park/?p=2842719 The Hyde Park Art Center has recently opened two new hallway exhibitions that provide off-beat looks at the world of contemporary art. Upstairs, the entire hallway has been transformed into a lava-lamp looking, rough language talking, concert basement heaven – complete with black light illumination. Downstairs, Keith Herzik has taken a simple white hallway and turned it into what looks like an amazingly detailed wall of graffiti. Both are fresh new ways to look at exhibition installation, and both leave the viewer feeling as though they’ve entered an alternative space where everything is just a little bit insane.

The upstairs gallery features over thirty artists, some of which seem childishly simplistic next to their neighbors. Lilli Carré’s Totem Pole, for instance, dominates the left hand wall, and really takes advantage of the black light capabilities.

Each of the artists was asked to use materials that would fluoresce under black lights, but some of these worked out much better than others. Lilli Carré is a great example of a fantastic success, while some of the smaller pieces feel too washed out. Even if every piece isn’t at its brightest, walking through the hallway is still an incredibly rewarding experience (except for those with suspicious stains on their clothing!)

Downstairs is a completely different feel. Keith Herzik has over 300 individual screen prints lining the hallway.

Stuff like this ^

Even without glowing artwork, his bold use of color makes the hallway seem just as bright as the upstairs. The colors he uses are so intense, it takes a moment to even realize that a lot of his prints contain imagery that’s far from PG-13. If you’re in the mood to see a pants-less cowboy fly out of an outhouse with his pistols drawn, then you are exactly the kind of person who will appreciate the hidden gems contained in this exhibit.

This is just an example of the craziness in store.


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