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2 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

¬ DECEMBER 7, 2016


SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY The South Side Weekly is an independent nonprofit newsprint magazine written for and about neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago. We publish in-depth coverage of the arts and issues of public interest alongside oral histories, poetry, fiction, interviews, and artwork from local photographers and illustrators. The South Side Weekly is dedicated to supporting cultural and civic engagement on the South Side and to providing educational opportunities for developing journalists, writers, and artists. Volume 4, Issue 11 Editor-in-Chief Jake Bittle Managing Editors Maha Ahmed, Christian Belanger Director of Staff Support Ellie Mejía Director of Writer Development Mari Cohen Deputy Editor Olivia Stovicek Senior Editor Emeline Posner Education Editor Lit Editor Music Editor Stage & Screen Editor Visual Arts Editor

Hafsa Razi Sarah Claypoole Austin Brown Julia Aizuss Corinne Butta

Contributing Editors Joe Andrews, Ariella Carmell, Jonathan Hogeback, Andrew Koski, Carrie Smith, Margaret Tazioli, Yunhan Wen, Kylie Zane Video Editor Lucia Ahrensdorf Radio Producer Maira Khwaja Web Editor Camila Cuesta Social Media Editors Sierra Cheatham, Emily Lipstein, Sam Stecklow Visuals Editor Ellen Hao Deputy Visuals Editor Jasmin Liang Layout Editors Baci Weiler, Sofia Wyetzner Staff Writers: Olivia Adams, Maddie Anderson, Sara Cohen, Bridget Gamble, Christopher Good, Michal Kranz, Anne Li, Zoe Makoul, Sonia Schlesinger Staff Photographers: Juliet Eldred, Kiran Misra, Luke Sironski-White Staff Illustrators: Javier Suarez, Addie Barron, Jean Cochrane, Lexi Drexelius, Wei Yi Ow, Amber Sollenberger, Teddy Watler, Julie Wu, Zelda Galewsky, Seonhyung Kim Social Media Intern

Ross Robinson

Webmasters Alex Mueller, Sofia Wyetzner Publisher

Harry Backlund

The paper is produced by an all-volunteer editorial staff and seeks contributions from across the city. We distribute each Wednesday in the fall, winter, and spring. Over the summer we publish every other week. Send submissions, story ideas, comments, or questions to editor@southsideweekly.com or mail to: South Side Weekly 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. Chicago, IL 60637 For advertising inquiries, contact: (773) 234-5388 or advertising@southsideweekly.com

IN CHICAGO

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

Rahm’s “Drop in the Bucket” Fund Rahm announced on Friday the creation of a one million dollar “legal defense fund” in partnership with the National Immigrant Justice Center for immigrants facing deportation. The Tribune reported that the funds come from a $19 million surplus collected in Rahm’s property tax rebate program. What Rahm is doing with the other $18 million is unclear, but we’re sure it’s something really, really important. So what does $1 million get you in immigration lawyers? Nolo, a Berkeley based publisher of do-it-yourself legal books, reports that a straightforward deportation case defense can run just $1,500, while more complicated cases can climb to $7,500 or even higher. Averaging these estimates, Rahm’s fund provides legal service for just over 200 immigrants, or one percent of the 20,000 pending deportation cases in Chicago. The DNC Needs a New Leader: How about Carol Felsenthal? In a column published on Monday, Chicago magazine politics columnist Carol Felsenthal suggested that Rahm Emanuel should leave Chicago and vie for the position of chairman of the Democratic National Committee. She offered several compelling reasons why Rahm is a good candidate to improve the Democratic Party’s ability to connect with American voters, including his “stubborn unpopularity with African Americans,” the fact that “he favors his phone” instead of hackable emails, and that watching him fight RNC chair hopeful Chris Christie “could be such fun to watch.” We appreciate Felsenthal’s astute contribution to the question of how the Democratic Party can rebuild after its loss, and were inspired to offer our own list of Chicagoans who might be good for the DNC Chair position: 1. Barbara Byrd-Bennett 2. Willie Wilson 3. Willie Cochran 4. Willis Tower 5. Louis Farrakhan 6. Lou Malnati 7. The squirrel that hit Ald. Howard Brookins Jr.’s bicycle 8. The old Navy Pier Ferris wheel 9. The ghost of Studs Terkel 10. Guaranteed Rate Field Rauner Messes Up an Already Messed-Up Thing This week, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would have allocated Chicago Public Schools $215 million to temporarily alleviate the school district’s ever-worsening financial woes. This decision plunges CPS into a financial crisis partially of its own making: the district's budget this year assumed it would get a significant amount of money from the state and made no contingency plans. In a state like Illinois, operating on the assumption that the state government will meet anyone’s expectations is foolish, but this budgeting decision was roundly criticized by many different commentators for its, um, optimism. Rauner said he vetoed the $215 million bill because it was not tied to certain CPS pension reforms that have already been under debate in the state legislature; now CPS will likely have to make massive cuts and layoffs in order to make its required pension payment at the end of the year. CPS CEO Forrest Claypool equated the veto to Rauner’s “holding 400,000 schoolchildren hostage to his political agenda,” while CTU boss Karen Lewis said Rauner was “trying to starve CPS.” As usual, though, it's hard to tell who’s screwing over students and taxpayers more: our evil governor or the incompetent people running our school system.

IN THIS ISSUE a walkout in the suburbs

According to Mújica, “pretty much everybody” was fired. katie bart..........................................4 screening solidarity

“I think it really struck a nerve with people.” juan caicedo......................................6 holiday gift guide.................................8 holiday comics.....................................12 holiday spotlight: absolutely anything essential

“It will definitely help if there are more events like this.” yunhan wen....................................13 a million different angles

It was an observation that spurred an abundance of head nodding throughout the crowd. ariella carmell..............................15 moving forward

The expansion of the Red Line will have to wait until well into a Trump presidency to secure federal funding. michal kranz..................................16

OUR WEBSITE S ON SOUTHSIDEWEEKLY.COM SSW Radio soundcloud.com/south-side-weekly-radio Email Edition southsideweekly.com/email

Cover art by Ellen Hao DECEMBER 7, 2016 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 3


A Walkout in the Suburbs

KATIE BART

After food workers in Lansing protest poor conditions, their employer strikes back BY KATIE BART

O

n November 17, some forty-odd people gathered outside an egg processing facility in Lansing, Illinois, shouting “Si se puede!,” eclipsing the din of traffic from the nearby Kingery Expressway. They were there with workers’ center Arise Chicago and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) to protest poor working conditions and their unlawful termination from the facility just a few weeks before. In addition, the former employees of Michael Foods, the company which had recently acquired the facility, were hoping for formalized representation in a union and rallying for the next day’s union election. The egg processing facility, south of Chicago’s city limits but just north of 175th Street, was the headquarters of National Pasteurized Eggs, which produced Davidson’s Safest Choice, and employed one hundred workers from the area before it was acquired by Michael Foods in October. Shortly following the ownership transition, on October 17, workers staged a walkout to protest poor working conditions and sexual harassment claims. The next day, 4 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

Lansing workers called on Arise Chicago, an interfaith workers’ center, for support as they began the process of unionizing. On November 7, a couple of weeks after employees had returned to work, Michael Foods did not allow the workers who had walked out to enter the facility and hired the security firm AFIMAC to enforce an official lock-out. In the days following, these employees received notice of their termination in the mail. The workers have since been replaced through the NEXUS Employment Solution agency in Highland, Indiana. According to Jorge Mújica, Arise’s Strategic Campaigns Organizer, workers were informed that they would have fifteen days to train the new hires. “They decided to fire all the workers and replace them with temporary workers from Indiana,” Mújica said. “It means going down from what these workers were earning. They don’t have to pay temporary workers any type of benefits, including seniority, holiday hours, vacation time, health care.” According to Mújica, “pretty much everybody” was fired. “The company argued that there

¬ DECEMBER 7, 2016

were some problems with immigration paperwork, which is not true because we’ve reviewed the worker files,” Mújica said. “All the workers hired by NEXUS Indiana are African American. Justified—they just want to work and that’s fine. But basically, they are dismissing all the Latino [workers] and hiring the African American [workers].” Jesus Soto, former Michael Foods employee, believes that the decision to unilaterally fire Mexican immigrants was a discriminatory decision. “Because we don’t know the language, they think we don’t know the law,” Soto said. Adam Kader, director of the Worker Center at Arise Chicago, said that the walkout was within the range of lawful protest by the Lansing facility employees, but that it can still be difficult to get corporations to care about adhering to labor laws without official union representation. “Michael Foods has completely refused to talk to us. They don’t recognize common workers by themselves,” Mújica said. “What they’re doing is in violation of the law, of course, but companies do it all the time.” Though the Michael Foods workers

could continue to informally represent themselves, Kader says the union offers better protection against a national corporation. “We help workers regardless of whether they’re in a union or not. But the best protection is a union,” Kader said. Besides their termination, workers have made claims of illegal actions and management by Michael Foods staff and policy. Their complaints include unsafe working conditions, unequal pay for women, sexual harassment, and shifts lasting as long as twenty-seven hours. Soto said that there were problems with racial discrimination under the new company. Mújica, confirming that there was wage discrimination based on workers’ gender, said, “Women were promised $10 but only paid $9.05,” and when these women confronted the inequality, “they were told ‘$10 was the rate for men.’” In the time following their acquisition of the brand boasting “Safest Choice,” Michael Foods has put at least one worker in severe danger due to poor, and possibly illegal, management. According to Mújica, on October 20, three days after the walkout,


LABOR

a supervisor asked a worker to operate machinery for which he was untrained. Though he first refused, the worker eventually followed orders and ended up getting his hand caught in the machine. Employees were unable to free his hand and called the fire department to dismantle the machine. Mújica says this was an exception to the norm—Michael Foods’s response to most workplace accidents was to tell workers to call family members for help. In the month leading up to November 18, the day that the National Labor Relations Board designated for the Michael Foods’s Union Election, demonstrations were held across Lansing to protest the changes that have taken place at the facility in the new fiscal year. On November 15, protesters attended their village board meeting to request that the city of Lansing hold businesses accountable for the alleged retaliation against unionization efforts. “We told the village board that they license companies to operate in Lansing,” Mújica said. “They are losing a lot of money just in taxes, allowing this company to operate in violation of so many laws. If they fire Lansing workers, the city of Lansing is losing.” Though the village board has issued no official support, the people of the community and the county have been supportive of the protest. With the help of Arise Chicago, the workers have letters of signed support from seventy-two religious leaders from all over Cook County. The number of supportive honks from passing cars on November 17 was no small sign of solidarity either, with each one bringing a small and hopeful cheer from the protesters on site. At the time of the protest, Mújica said that a “huge, huge majority” of workers supported the protest and unionization, estimating that “105 out of 130, more and less...two-thirds” were engaging in the fight for their rights as workers. “All workers are allowed to vote, regardless of the lock-out, so we’ll just wait for the results, and that’s what we’ll do,” Mújica said. The union candidate was Local 881, one of the largest affiliates of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). Eduardo Victoria, an organizer with Local 881 UFCW, was hopeful about the election results. “We believe in the workers. We cover the workers. And we’re gonna win,” he said. The next morning, 138 workers voted on the issue of union representation. After a long day of waiting, Arise Chicago

KATIE BART

updated their Facebook followers on the election results, stating: “No official result on Local 881 UFCW election at Michael Foods because the company refused to acknowledge 107 votes. Official results are pending until the challenged votes are considered.” “The company challenged 107 votes out of 138 votes,” Mújica said, explaining that the 107 challenged votes were from the workers who had walked out. “The ‘official result’ is that there are no ‘official results.’ Results are sealed until the disputed votes are counted or not by the National Labor Relations Board.” In the meantime, most of Michael Foods’s former employees have had to find work elsewhere. “Two weeks of lock-out really damaged their economies,” Mújica wrote. But that does not mean their fight ends, as a few workers are suing the company for missing vacation days, wage discrepancies, and sexual harassment. Michael Foods’s holding company has faced other conflicts with rising union power. In late October, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported the potential shutdown of a Post Holdings plant in Michigan, which employs

Besides their termination, workers have made claims of illegal actions and management by Michael Foods staff and policy. Their complaints include unsafe working conditions, unequal pay for women, sexual harassment, and shifts lasting as long as twenty-seven hours. more than five hundred workers. According to the union representative, the company wants to “ ‘move to non-union plants in other states.’ ” Michael Foods is one of four subsidiaries of Post Holdings, Inc., alongside Post Consumer Brands, Active Nutrition, and Private

Brands. Post Holdings was a spinoff of Ralcorp Holdings, a company merged with Kraft General Foods. Michael Foods was formed in 1987, itself a spinoff of North Star Universal, and includes Papetti's, Crystal Farms, AllWhites, and Simply Potatoes brands in addition to their recent acquisition of National Pasteurized Eggs. ¬ DECEMBER 7, 2016 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 5


Screening Solidarity

MICHAEL W. PHILLIPS, JR.

With a new series on labor, South Side Projections stirs up further conversation BY JUAN CAICEDO

U

nion Maids, one of the last films screened in South Side Projections’s “Alternative Histories of Labor” series, chronicles the lives of three female labor organizers in 1930s and 1940s in Chicago. At one point, one of the titular “maids,” Katherine Hyndman, recalls a funeral procession for three black men who were shot in the back by policemen as they carried furniture back into their homes following an eviction. The procession marched all the way from 31st Street down to the Englewood train station on 63rd. “State Street was crowded with thousands of people from wall to wall, from one end of State Street to the other,” Hyndman says. “It was just a mass of people....The streetcars would just barely crawl along through the crowds. And that was the first time in my life that I have seen white people sobbing, really sobbing, there was such a strong feeling.” The memory is followed by a montage of laborers set to the old union anthem “Solidarity Forever.” Solidarity was a big 6 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

theme that evening, in both the films and in the discussion afterward. The self-consciously timely series, curated by South Side Projections’s founder and director Michael Phillips, aimed to illuminate the oft-neglected role of women and people of color in the U.S. labor movement. The other movie on the bill that night was The Willmar 8, about a group of Minnesota women who went on strike in 1977 over gender discrimination by the bank that employed them. Previous screenings included documentaries about Pullman’s Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which was the first African-American-led union recognized by the American Federation of Labor, and El Teatro Campesino, the United Farm Workers’s theater troupe. Phillips had the idea for the series when he noticed the prominence of labor as a theme he came across repeatedly while researching films to screen. Alongside South Side Projections’s programmer, Harrison Sherrod, he decided to narrow the series’

¬ DECEMBER 7, 2016

focus to the role of women and people of color in the labor movement. With the help of filmmaker and board member Peter Kuttner, and of Judy Hoffman, a filmmaker and University of Chicago film professor, he was able to assemble a list of eight films around the topic. “I think it really struck a nerve with people,” Phillips said, explaining the unusual variety of sponsors, including Aguijón Theater of Belmont Cragin and the Service Employees International Union for Illinois and Indiana. A grant from Illinois Humanities allowed South Side Projections to run the screening series, its second ever, as well as its longest and most cohesive. “We were able to do something bigger than normal. Normally our way of doing things is we’ll do a bunch of one-off screenings that aren’t particularly related to each other,” Philips said. The series seems to have struck a nerve with residents of the South Side as well. About fifty people attended the first screening—South Side Projections screenings usually attract between thirty and forty people—and attendance remained higher than usual for the rest of the series. In audience surveys, Phillips said, more than half of attendees have identified themselves as current or former union members.

The first South Side Projections series, “The Streets and the Classrooms,” ran this past spring. It used postwar industrial and educational films as mirrors for social change, glancing off material similar to the labor series. But it wasn’t as successful at getting people into the seats. As Phillips acknowledges, it’s hard to make someone drive out on a weekday night to watch a movie intended for a classroom. It’s not all about numbers, though. Post-film discussions are a staple of the organization’s programming; the goal of South Side Projections since its inception in 2011 has been to use film as a catalyst to get people out and talking about the issues in their communities. The best screenings, for South Side Projections, are those that start the best conversations. These discussions are so integral to South Side Projections’ work that even on the rare occasion, at a screening this October, that a discussion hadn’t been organized, people stayed and talked. The film they were discussing, The Great Flood by experimental director Bill Morrison, told the story of the Mississippi River Flood of 1927, which forced thousands of African Americans to join the Great Migration. Many of those remained to talk were their descendants. Afterward, a woman who had stayed for the discussion approached Phillips as he cleaned up. She was Morrison’s mother, and she wanted to tell him that her son would have liked the screening. “We’ve had screenings with more people in the audience,” she said, “but we’ve never had that good of a discussion about the issues that the film raises.” In this respect as well, the “Alternative Histories of Labor” series has been a success. “I’m consistently excited and impressed by the range of opinions that are presented,” Phillips said. “We did this screening about the Pullman porter union, the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters, down at the Pullman public library. And the conversation started out to be about the Pullman porters, and by the end we ended up talking about the CTU, the Chicago Teacher’s Union strike, and about the Fight for 15 [campaign]. Every time we do this, we do a screening, I feel like people want an outlet to talk to people about these issues, and I’m just...really honored that they’re choosing to come to our events and to use them as an outlet for that.” The two speakers at the Logan Arts Center for the last screening were Julia


STAGE & SCREEN

Reichert, the director of Union Maids, and Sarah Joy Liles, a trustee of the Illinois Labor History Society and union member. The two sit on the dark screening room’s stage below the steep columns of light as Phillips, hitherto in the wings, strides about and hands attendees a microphone. The first question comes from a man who’s worried about a suspect rule at his job, in attendance incognito because he doesn’t want word carried back to his workplace. He decamps soon after. Later, another attendee asks about how to spread information about organizations that support organized labor. “It didn’t seem like this gentleman really knew where to turn for help,” the attendee says of the first questioner. In this respect, he resembled the women in The Willmar 8. Unlike the labor organizers of Union Maids, they are innocent of radical politics when they begin their strike. Fellow townsfolk are skittish to even discuss the strike with them, and even union organizations like the AFL-CIO or the UAW give them only a middling level of support. They march for two years, often in snow or freezing rain, and pool scarce resources as job prospects dry up. The movie ends with a disastrous ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that sets them back to where they began and leads to their surrender. The narrator explains that no footage exists of their initial response to the news because the cameraman present couldn’t film it “out of respect for their feelings.” At several points during the discussion, both speakers stress the isolation or fragmentation that the labor movement finds itself in, either unable to unite cohesively or uninterested in doing so. “Julia and I were talking before the screenings,” Liles says, “about how we hope that one thing that happens today is that members of the audience connect to one another and make meaningful alliances come out of this that can help us prepare for and tackle the challenges we now will begin to see more and more in light of recent events.” Of course, everyone knows what these recent events are. The biggest laugh of the evening comes in response to the final lines of Union Maids: “I don’t think the American working people are gonna let down this country,” an organizer says, “and I don’t think any fascist bastards are gonna take over either.” It’s as hard to avoid the election

JUAN CAICEDO

this evening as it’s been every day since November 9. Phillips is the one who brings it up today, taking the microphone for himself and saying, “Let’s talk about voting against your own self-interest.” Both he and Reichert have family members who voted for Donald Trump, and many at the screening commented that the election has given the series a special relevance. Now Phillips asks how to reach out to Trump voters. Several perspectives are offered. Reichert is skeptical whether a vote against the Democrats is obviously a vote against the self-interest of the working class. In her opinion, the Democrats haven’t supported organized labor. “I think folks are reaping what they sow, in a way,” she says. One person says she doesn’t feel unions have properly educated their members about the society that they live in. Another points to the modest success of the Working Class Party in Michigan as an encouraging sign. In an election season that often appeared to pit labor issues and identity issues against

each other, the “Alternative Histories of Labor” series swam against the current, implicitly questioning the assumption that there needs to be any conflict between them, even if labor organizations have not always been havens of sexual and racial justice. “[Women and people of color have] been a big part of the rank and file,” Liles says while groups of lingerers talk after the discussion. “It’s time that we promote them to roles of leadership and really, not just for the sake of honoring them in that way, but for the sake of understanding what they have to offer. “It’s only been a few days since the election,” she said, “but I’ve seen a lot of hopeful indications that people are looking at American society in a new light and understanding how disaffected and desperate people are. That is part of how we get a movement going: when people are feeling really pressed by their bosses and their government and police force. So I have hope! I think it’s going to be a struggle, as these kinds of movements always are, and

I think part of what’s inspiring about the films we saw today was the tenacity of these women over the long haul.” “I feel like the series has been a place for people to talk about, like, ‘What now?’” Phillips said before the labor series’ last screening. For his part, he’ll continue to do what he’s always done with South Side Projections. When he founded South Side Projections five years ago, he told the Tribune that the operation was “basically me, with my wife’s credit card.” Since then, it has grown somewhat and gained six board members. The labor series has also put it in contact with labor-oriented organizations with which Phillips hopes to partner in the future. But the model and the mission remain the same: partnering with community organizations to present films that South Side Projections believes will interest local people. Each screening is the spark of a discussion; collect them all, and who knows how much of the South Side’s history is lit up. ¬ DECEMBER 7, 2016 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 7


Holiday Gift Guide

ILLUSTRATIONS BY LIZZIE SMITH

FOR A LOVER OF HANDMADE ESSENTIALS ¬

Absolutely Anything Essential Gift Shop

With over twenty vendors in one location, this market is your one-stop shop for all-natural or creatively handmade products including soy candles, organic soaps, fragrant body oils, books, greeting cards, gourmet treats, scarves, and much more. “Do-It-Yourself ” classes fill its calendar, making the Bronzeville shop a hub for the natural and creative person in your life. (Oduda Maali) ¬Turn to page 13 for our feature on Absolutely Anything Essential Absolutely Anything Essential, 3521 S. King Dr. Open Tuesday, noon–6pm; Wednesday–Friday, 11am–7pm; Saturday, 10am–6pm. (773) 406-7663. absolutelyanythingessential.com

FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL HEALTH

Culture Connection 360

Zientek's, however, is quite literally on a different scale—the shop's vast assortment of model trains escalates transit to something of an art form (and, for that matter, makes it purchasable at wholesale prices). It might cater to a niche audience, but for those with an interest in life and travel writ small, Zientek's is not to be missed. (Christopher Good) Zientek's Model Trains, 2001 W. 18th St. Open Monday–Saturday, 11am–6pm. (312) 226-9720. sites.google.com/site/zienteksmodeltrains

FOR THE MUSIC AFICIONADO

Shady Rest Vintage & Vinyl

In 2008, Das Racist brought us the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. In 2016, Chicago natives and music enthusiasts Peter Kepha and Nuntida Sirisombatwattana brought us the combination record store and bric-a-brac boutique. Shady Rest, their store, has a healthy collection of wax, but plenty of other options: reel-to-reels, cassette decks, and even 8-tracks are common sights. As for the nonmusical? There's a well-curated assortment of miscellany in regular rotation, ranging from furniture to signs to art prints. Sure, as a record store in Pilsen, Shady Rest might be another entry in a well-saturated market—but if you want to split the difference between crate-digging and interior decorating, then Shady Rest can meet high expectations with even higher fidelity. (Christopher Good) Shady Rest & Vinyl, 1659 S. Throop St. Open Wednesday–Friday, 2pm–8pm; Saturday, 12pm– 8pm; Sunday, 12pm–6pm. (872) 444-6488. shadyrestchicago.com

This cornerstone of the Englewood community sells self-help books, health guides, and documentaries alongside all-natural beauty products, fragrant oils, home decor, vegan treats, and alkaline water—all in the name of a mission to meet the needs of the mind, body, and soul. (Oduda Maali)

FOR ANYONE WITH A MARK TO MAKE

Culture Connection 360, 400 W. 71st St. Open Monday–Saturday, 10am–7pm. (773) 527-6015. cultureconnection360.com

This Little Village-based gallery and studio specializes in prints of all kinds: lithography, relief, screen printing—you name it. The owners, Liz Born and Gabe Hoare, offer lessons and studio space for the artist who wants to try their hand at something new. For the art lover, there’s a shop of print editions for sale. No matter who’s on your list, hoof it over to this print shop this holiday season. (Corinne Butta)

FOR YOUR QUIRKY T-SHIRT NEEDS

Hardscrabble Gift Shop

A staple of the Bridgeport community since 2012, Hardscrabble is your go-to shop for affordable and stylish artwork, home décor, and personalized t-shirts. Stop in and grab a new painting for your wall and print those friendship t-shirts you’ve been meaning to get your bestie for years. Hardscrabble also offers screen-printing on tote bags, sweatshirts, baby onesies, and more! Name it, and they can probably print on it. This is the spot for creative types looking to spice up their wardrobe and home. (Bridget Newsham) Hardscrabble Gift Shop, 3335 S. Halsted St. Open Monday–Friday, 11am–7pm; Saturday, 10am–5pm; Sunday, 10am–3pm. (773) 696-9574. hardscrabblegifts.com

FOR THE HOBBYIST THINKING ON A 1:87 SCALE

Zientek’s Model Trains

Between the CTA and the Metra, Chicago makes begrudging transit fans out of most of us. 8 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

¬ DECEMBER 7, 2016

Hoofprint

Hoofprint, 2433 S. Oakley Ave. By appointment only; call before you visit. (773) 896-4326. hoofprintchicago.com

FOR THE FAMILY PHILOSOPHER

Frontline Books

This historic Hyde Park bookshop is sure to have something to capture the mind of any budding free thinker. They specialize in publications related to Pan-Africanism, metaphysics, self-help, health, and Rastafarian literature. To celebrate the season, Frontline is even releasing a new edition of The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey on December 16. Pick up a copy and enjoy a night of poetry, music, and unity while you’re at it. (Corinne Butta) Frontline Books, 5206 S. Harper Ave. Book launch December 16, 5:30pm–8:30pm. Open Monday– Thursday, 10am–9pm; Friday and Saturday 10am–10pm; Sunday 11am–8pm. (773) 288-7718. frontlinebooksdistribution.com


FOR THE SWEET TOOTH

Chicago Creampuffs & Cakes

This Mt. Greenwood bakery, renowned for owner Emma Dearth’s cream puffs, turns into a community hub during the holiday season—on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the middle of December, the store, which moved into a new and bigger location last year, will double as an after-school camp for kids. For those feeling festive (perhaps a little prematurely), the bakery is hosting a gingerbread house–making event on December 11, though with sugar cookies instead of gingerbread. If you’re looking for a last-minute dessert, their ornately iced cakes are a real crowd-pleaser. (Christian Belanger) Chicago Creampuffs & Cakes, 3458 W. 111th St. Wednesday–Friday, 11am–8pm; Saturday, 9am–8pm; Sunday, 2pm–8pm; Monday, 4pm–8pm; Tuesday, 11am–7pm. (773) 445-7833. facebook.com/chicagocreampuffandcakes

FOR YOUR GREEK GOD/GODDESS

Alpha II Omega

One Facebook reviewer describes Alpha II Omega as the best Chicago location to find gifts for members of the “Divine Nine,” the nine black fraternities and sororities that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. The little all-purpose apparel shop also carries Masonic paraphernalia, along with jewelry and Tuskegee Airmen outfits. Nestled next to sweet potato hot spot Jimmy Jamm along 95th Street, the shop is easy to spot: a decal of the Masonic square and compass stuck to the front door is a dead giveaway. (Christian Belanger) Alpha II Omega, 1838 W. 95th St. Thursday and Friday, 11am–7pm; Saturday, 10am–6pm. (773) 445-9044. alphaiiomega.vpweb.com

FOR THE MYSTICAL JEWELRY-WEARER

Mashallah

Mashallah Ghouleh’s eponymous store just opened this fall in Pilsen; previously, the Bronzeville-based jeweler sold most of her pieces online. The pieces in her current autumn and winter collections are made of malachite, pyrite, and selenite. She also sells a number of non-seasonal earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and cuffs. According to the store’s website, each piece is influenced by the “metaphysical” properties of its gemstones, which are rooted in a deeper universal meaning. Visiting the physical location has one advantage over ordering online: local artists often showcase or sell their work in the store. (Christian Belanger) Mashallah, 1747 S. Halsted Ave. #1. Tuesday–Saturday, 11am–9pm; Sunday, 11am–6pm. (312) 291-9889. mashallah.us

FOR MAKING SOMEONE GREEN WITHOUT ENVY

South Side Irish Imports

South Side Irish Imports has been dishing out Claddagh rings, Guinness gear, Celtic bears, Irish saints merchandise, Waterford crystal, South Side Irish t-shirts, and Irish policeman

and firefighter t-shirts for about three decades. The 6,000-square-foot South Side store and the 3,000-square-foot suburban store were both “born out of our love for being Irish and our love of our heritage and neighborhood,” the owners say on the website. Merchandise includes engagement gifts like an “Irish Marriage Blessing Throw Rug,” Irish flags, leprechaun figurines, St. Patrick’s Day decorations, as well as Catholic items like rosaries, scapulars, and communion jewelry. And there are of course itchy wool sweaters and wool caps if you’re looking to hew to Irish stereotypes. ( Joseph S. Pete) South Side Irish Imports, 3446 W. 111th St., or 7725 W. 159th St. in Tinley Park. Monday– Friday, 10am–7:30pm; Saturday, 10am–5pm; Sunday, 11am–4pm. southsideirishgifts.com

FOR THE BOWLING ENTHUSIAST IN YOUR LIFE

Andy’s Pro Shop Bowling

Andy’s Pro Shop Bowling isn’t exactly America's pastime, but those who like it, love it, and they probably also love gift-getters who know what they're about. This since-1956 shop is the perfect place to turn to get new shoes, or maybe a new ball, or, uh, something related to bowling for that special cousin or friend who's always talking about bowling. The staff seems to love the game as well, is beloved in the bowling community, and is sure to be able to help you pick out the best equipment even if you still need to use bumpers when you go to the alley. Hell, maybe they even sell bumpers. ( Jake Bittle) Andy’s Pro Shop, 6358 S. Pulaski Ave. Monday–Wednesday, 11am–5pm; Thursday, 11am–8pm; Friday 11am–5pm; Saturday, 10am–5pm. (773) 581-6363. andysproshop.com

FOR YOUR HONEY

The Hive

Has the buzz about beekeeping stung you yet? Get supplies to become your block’s foremost apiarist at The Hive, which describes itself as Chicago’s first beekeeping supply store. Located in North Lawndale, visitors can buy everything from hive frames to beekeeping reference books to—you guessed it—honey. In addition to outfitting established beekeepers, The Hive hosts workshops for bee-ginners and works to advocate for bees, local ecology, and sustainable agriculture across Chicagoland. If you’re looking for a sweet gift with a citywide impact, The Hive is the place to find it: be sure to inquire about their CSA, which, for $100, will get you five pounds of honey twice a year and exclusive access to events, classes, and new products. (Emily Lipstein) The Hive: Chicago’s Beekeeping Supplies Store, 3414 W. Roosevelt Rd. Wednesday and Thursday, 10am–5pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am–3pm. Closed Monday, Tuesday, Friday. (312) 9959508. thehivesupply.com

FOR THE LOVER OF SPIRITUAL GOODS

Botánica Caridad del Cobre

If you find yourself or a loved one in need of a home purification or a demon exorcism (or just a bit of positive energy) this holiday season, head to the botánica. This Santeria store boasts the requisite wide selection of candles, mists, and oils for any imaginable wish or ailment, but its strength is in its Catholic statuary. This is a one-stop shop for your rosaries, and Virgin, saint, and (baby and adult) Jesus statuettes. If your personal brand of DECEMBER 7, 2016 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 9


spiritualism doesn’t include explicitly religious iconography, that’s okay too. Caridad del Cobre also stocks a millennial (I mean, perennial) favorite: Himalayan salt crystal lamps. (Kylie Zane) Botánica Caridad del Cobre, 4072 W. 26th St. Monday–Friday, 10am–6pm; Saturday, 10am– 4pm. (773) 277-2313.

FOR GIFTS OF REUSE AND RENEWAL

Encore Resale Clothing

This small (some say tiny) resale clothing shop on the northern side of Hyde Park holds a wide selection of reasonably priced clothing and accessories for men, women, and children without feeling overwhelming or packed. You’re likely to find something you couldn’t find anywhere else, and if that’s not enough, know that your gift-buying does an extra amount of good because Encore is a nonprofit that puts its proceeds into community renewal efforts. (Carrie Smith) Encore Resale Clothing, 1553 E. Hyde Park Blvd. Monday–Saturday, 10am–6pm. (773) 3241111.

FOR LITERALLY EVERYTHING NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED

Unique Thrift Store

On a budget? Need a gift for that person who already has everything? Look no further than Unique. With outposts in Bridgeport and Gage Park, these expansive "thrift superstores” collect donations and sell gently used clothing, housewares, accessories, and more, plus a section of seasonal merchandise. Though you'll have to invest some time and elbow grease to sift through Unique's sheer volume of stuff, you’re sure to find the perfect purse for your mom or novelty hot glass for your roommate. Keep an eye out for special discounts and promotions, too: seniors get thirty percent off every Tuesday. ( Juliet Eldred) Unique Halsted, 3000 S. Halsted Ave. Monday, 6am–9pm; Tuesday–Saturday, 9am–9pm; Sunday, 10am–7pm. (312) 842-0942. Unique Kedzie, 5040 S. Kedzie Ave. Monday, 6am–9pm; Tuesday–Saturday, 9am–9pm; Sunday, 10am–7pm. (773) 434-4886.

FOR NEXT YEAR

University Church Resale Shop

On the first weekend of every month, Hyde Park’s University Church puts out a bowl of popcorn and fills its entryway with trinkets, doodads, knickknacks, and—if you dig deep enough—genuinely useful stuff. The Resale Shop’s well-loved inventory and nickel-anddime prices feel like a sanctuary from our mass-produced, profit-driven consumer culture.

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¬ DECEMBER 7, 2016

Whether you arrive looking for stocking stuffers or a new wardrobe, you might end up leaving with such unique finds as "3 Rocks in a Box" (exactly what it sounds like, and only $1!). Make sure to go downstairs for quaint glassware and vintage kids' toys. This month’s sale has already passed, but Christmas decorations will be half-off in January. Best of all, since the shop is run by volunteers and everything here is donated, the gifts you buy give back—all proceeds go to UChurch. (Baci Weiler) University Church, 5655 S. University Ave. First weekend of every month: Friday, 10am–5pm; Saturday, 10am–3pm. Donations appreciated. (773) 363-8142. universitychurchchicago.org

Ways to Give Back BOOK AND GIFT DRIVES FOR INCARCERATED YOUTH AND WOMEN A number of organizations are having book and gift drives for women and youth in jail across Illinois this holiday season. Check below for details; all organizations have an Amazon registry that they either recommend or require that you donate to. (Christian Belanger) Gifts from Incarcerated Moms to their Kids: ship gifts c/o Toy Drive, 140 N. Ashland Ave. Registry at amzn.to/2h0Hmsi and for more information, email holly.krig@gmail.com. Chicago Books to Women in Prison: ship books to 4511 N. Hermitage Ave. Registry at amzn.to/2hbvmos Liberation Library Youth Book Drive: ship books to 2040 N. Milwaukee Ave, 2nd fl. Donations tax-deductible. Registry at amzn.to/2gZCCk8 and for more information, visit liberationlib.com Isaac Ray Center Youth Book Drive: ship books to 1100 S. Hamilton Ave., Taylor or Roosevelt St. Dock. (312) 433-5936. chaka.holley@cookcountyil.gov. Registry at amzn.to/2g3zF0c and for more information, visit isaacraycenterinc.org

SOLORIO DREAM SCHOLARSHIP DRIVE The DREAM team at Gage Park’s Solorio Academy high school is holding their fourth annual scholarship drive to raise money for scholarships that go to undocumented students graduating from Solorio. Over the previous three years, the scholarship drive has raised $11,000, helping sixteen students cover the cost of college. (Christian Belanger) Donate at gofundme.com/soloriodreams


RONALD JOHNSON MEMORIAL TOY DRIVE AND HELP THE HOMELESS EFFORT Ronald Johnson was shot to death by a CPD officer in October 2014. Beginning last year, his family started an annual toy drive for the students at Stagg Elementary, the school Johnson’s five daughters attend. In addition to physical drop-off locations, there are also online donations. Johnson’s daughters, naming themselves “Team Do Too Much,” have also started a fundraising campaign to purchase clothes for Chicago’s homeless people in preparation for the winter. (Christian Belanger) Toy Drop-off Locations: American Friends Service Committee, 637 S. Dearborn St, 3rd floor.; University Church Chicago, 5655 S. University Ave.; Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark. St. Donations with be made or dropped off by December 16. Online donations at amzn. to/2grCE6n. Donate to the Team Do Too Much fundraising drive at bit.ly/2gJDf3m

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS FEAST FOR THE HOMELESS AND ELDERLY Led by South Side activist and pastor Michael L. Pfleger, the faith community of St. Sabina plans to distribute hundreds of meals to homeless and elderly residents. In the past, they’ve doled out more than 800 turkeys. This year, they’re seeking donations from time to toiletries to turkey. (Christine Schmidt) St. Sabina Academy, Bethune Hall, 7801 S. Throop St. Sunday, December 25, noon–2pm.

TOY SORTING, FOOD DISTRIBUTION, AND BELL RINGING The Salvation Army’s Englewood location is looking for Angel Tree toy sorters, holiday food box distributors, and red kettle bell ringers this holiday season. Find volunteer opportunities online by looking for other Salvation Army locations in the Chicagoland area. (Kristin Lin) Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center, 845 W. 69th St. (773) 358-3252. centralusa. salvationarmy.org

GREATER CHICAGO FOOD DEPOSITORY Unload, restock, sort, repeat: Greater Chicago Food Depository offers volunteer opportunities at their member soup kitchens and shelters across Chicago. South Side locations include Chatham-Avalon Ministries, Word of Truth, and Canaan MBC Pantry. (Kristin Lin) Greater Chicago Food Depository, 4100 W. Ann Lurie Pl. (773) 247-3663. chicagosfoodbank.org

CHILDREN’S HOME + AID HOLIDAY GIFT DRIVE This holiday season, Children’s Home + Aid is a wish-granting factory. The organization manages a gift drive where donors contribute gifts from wish lists created by children in programs run by Children’s Home + Aid. Sign up online to get matched with a child. (Kristin Lin) Children’s Home + Aid, 125 S. Wacker Dr. (312) 424-0200. childrenshomeandaid.org

DECEMBER 7, 2016 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 11


Octosquidy Looks at Kwanzaa TURTEL ONLI

Untitled KYMBRIA GRAY & ALEXIS CHOI

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HOLIDAY SPOTLIGHT

Absolutely Anything Essential

A gift shop in Bronzeville makes space for collaboration between small businesses BY YUNHAN WEN

T

he fragrance of scented candles swirled out when the door opened. Inside, Kenya Renee, the owner of Absolutely Anything Essential, welcomed customers with a gold-lipstick smile. Absolutely Anything Essential is a gift shop located at 35th Street and King Drive. It is also a retail corridor, which means it leases out space to other vendors while still selling its own products. Inside, dozens of shelves and booths are scattered around the store, each of them rented to one of the location’s ten vendors, who then decorates it with handmade jewelry, assorted body scrubs, home decor, and the work of local artists. On the third floor, the inviting scent of cream and butter from the baker’s booth hangs in the air. On November 26, the space hosted an event for Small Business Saturday, an annual event started in 2010 by American Express to designate the Saturday after Black Friday as a day to promote small business. In 2016, the resolution was unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate to make Small Business Saturday an official day of celebration. For small business owners, it usually means a surge of customers and an opportunity to expand their brand. But for Renee, this year’s holiday was extra important because she is responsible for more than her own shop: Absolutely Anything Essential (AAE) was selected by American Express as a “Neighborhood Champion” this year, putting her in charge of setting up a community fair for local vendors to sell and local residents to shop. Whenever a customer entered the store, they were greeted with warm smiles and hugs—a lot of them are local residents, with whom the staff of the store were already acquainted. At the end of the day, Renee posted photos of herself and her customers on Facebook, with a caption that read, “So many shoppers, people were impressed, people

checked out the place, ate, and watched the Carolers sing.” “American Express has had a Neighborhood Champion program encouraging local businesses to advertise the Shop Small Business Saturday Initiative, which is just encouraging the community to shop within their community,” said Renee. “So [it does] not only help one business, but that one business helps other businesses as well.” Neighborhood Champions can reach out to small business owners in nearby neighborhoods. Renee herself invited not

encouraged, continue to line with other business owners, to associate themselves with other business owners that are ready to assist them going onto the next level,” she says. “I want them to associate with small business owners that don’t mind sharing their insights on how to advance as a business owner...You need the support from businesses that have been in the community for three or four years when you just moved into the community.” For vendors of smaller scale, such collaboration is more than welcome. Lois Stone, the president of Stone Art Supply, is

“I want small businesses to keep being encouraged, continue to line with other business owners, to associate themselves with other business owners that are ready to assist them going onto the next level.” —Kenya Renee, owner of Absolutely Anything Essential

only vendors from Bronzeville, where AAE is located, but also vendors in Hyde Park, the South Loop, and Kenwood. She says it’s important for small businesses to stay together. Programs like Neighborhood Champion do offer such opportunities, but she thinks that small businesses should join forces even outside of events like this. “I want small businesses to keep being

one of the small business owners presented in AAE. Stone Art Supply is completely online, since a physical walk-in-and-order place is hard to get. “I was glad to have a space like this because it allows me to show my art, show my art supplies. I can talk to people about arts, and I can offer some art classes,” said Stone, an experienced artist and illustrator. However, as expansive as the

Neighborhood Champion program seems to be, for Stone, there could be more. When asked if there were a lot of similar opportunities, she said. “Not on the South Side. They’re trying to open up a little bit more. This is really unique to Bronzeville where there are a couple of places in the area, like Entrepreneur Incubator where you can do things like [vending, showing goods and teaching]. I know there’s Bronzeville Retail Initiative [and] also Quad Community Development Corporation. They’re making up opportunities for people to vend when their own capacities can’t afford their own places.” While recognizing that those vending opportunities are “a great starting point,” Stone also said that a lot of small business owners want a physical place of their own: “Vending is really hard. You have to set up your stuff and take it down. For me, I want a retail place because I don’t have to take things around all the time and I can get a walk-inand-order place in conjunction with a gallery. If I can get a gallery, an art supply store, and some teaching space, that will be ideal for me.” This desire for a place of her own is also because not all the vending opportunities can give her the same level of freedom. “[AAE] is the place where I can vend and teach. But for QCDC’s program, they might not have space suitable for teaching. Space might be limited and they may not want a painting class there,” said Stone. The problem comes back to money. While there are opportunities for small business owners to get financial support, those opportunities entail procedures, and small business owners should be prepared with the necessary materials they need to apply for a program. “I feel that there are opportunities out there. There are loans out

DECEMBER 7, 2016 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 13


HOLIDAY

COURTESY OF ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING

there, yes…[but] small business owners have to be prepared for what is requested of them,” said Renee. “Because a lot of the time it’s not that there are no opportunities. There are more opportunities now than five years ago. But you have to make [an] income [statement] for the previous year and you have to make sure your taxes are in order. You have to talk to your accountant and the accountant will tell you what you should do for the next year.” Renee herself received assistance from the Entrepreneur Center at the Chicago Urban League, where she attended a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Business Entrepreneurship Development Program. The program provided both entrepreneurial training and necessary funding. “They basically started a program in partner with

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the Chicago Urban League to help lowincome families start their own businesses,” she said. “[The program] is through the Chicago Urban League but the funds came from the Chicago Housing Authority,” said Diane McDonald, who used to work for the Chicago Urban League, where she met Renee. Now she owns her own small business, Remree’s Bling’s & Thing’s, which vended in Renee’s store on Small Business Saturday. When asked whether there are similar guidance programs for small business owners, McDonald said, “I know there are programs out there. But what’s unique about Urban League, from what I saw, was the actual consultants who taught the class. They did a great job teaching the class because they were sincere about their teaching. Sometimes

¬ DECEMBER 7, 2016

you got someone who is doing it just for the money.” In addition to the inconsistent qualities among different guidance programs, a lot of small businesses are facing other financial problems, too. “Some people they don’t want to take a loan. From what I see, it actually takes a while for businesses to actually get up and going,” said McDonald. “Depending on how long you have to give the loan back, some people will be like ‘Hey, I don't want a business loan,’ because they can't afford to take out a business loan.” Second, there are small businesses scattered around who don’t know about the existence of such programs or about opportunities to collaborate with other small business owners. “What I did over the

summer was that I went out to some of the small businesses and asked them whether they were going to celebrate Small Business Saturday this year,” said McDonald, “some of them didn’t know there is Small Business Saturday.” Both of the problems tie back to Renee and McDonald’s shared call for more collaboration among small business owners. Collaboration between small businesses, the kind that’s offered by the Neighborhood Program, provides starting vendors with a necessary transition phase where they can accumulate their capitals. And a general sense of unity among small business owners ensures communication, which tackles the second problem. According to McDonald, the responsibility of uniting small businesses should not solely rest on the vendors themselves. “You know who I think should be responsible for getting these small businesses collaborate like that? It's the Alderman,” said McDonald when asked if she has more insight to offer about how to support small businesses. “They need to bring the businesses more together. They should make it a requirement that there's a meeting for businesses on certain dates, because a lot of the businesses they don't know about a lot of things.” “Kenya sent the flyers throughout the community and there were customers who came in and said, ‘I got this flyer and I came to check it out,’” said McDonald, who was at AAE on Saturday. “The Alderman should be pushing on things that businesses already got going on, find out what’s going on, visit small businesses more. Some other businesses probably got more visits from the alderman than small businesses like Kenya.” McDonald was referring to 4th Ward Alderman Sophia King, whose office is right next to Absolutely Anything Essential. “There was a time when [King] was asked to advertise for the location [of AAE], and Kenya was turned down,” said McDonald. Alderman King, who was appointed by Mayor Emanuel in April, had not responded to McDonald’s comments by press time. This article will be updated online if the Weekly receives a response from her office. ¬


LIT

A Million Different Angles Zadie Smith in conversation at the DuSable BY ARIELLA CARMELL

I

n the sweltering auditorium of the DuSable Museum of African American History, at the border of Washington Park and Hyde Park, the packed audience murmured on Wednesday, November 30, in anticipation of the presence of acclaimed author Zadie Smith. Clasped like precious heirlooms in audience members’ arms, the bright yellow covers of her new book Swing Time dotted the room with frequency. As one fan whispered to a woman next to him, “I told my kids, this is like a rock concert to me.” Smith has attained a degree of fame rarely found among novelists. Perhaps she’s not quite a household name among nonreaders, but she is certainly a book lover’s version of Kate Winslet or the like—poised, elegant, well dressed, her youth the object of envy and awe. The publication of her first novel White Teeth (which she wrote while she was an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge) catapulted her into literary stardom and cemented her as a writer of deep intelligence and empathy. Words like “wunderkind” and “prodigy” swirled around her as that novel led to the first usage and development of the literary term “hysterical realism.” Since then, Smith has published four other novels—The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW, and now Swing Time—and a book of essays, Changing My Mind, as well as many pieces for the New Yorker. Long-lasting applause that she dismissed with a wave of her hand greeted Smith when she took the stage at the DuSable Museum. She read an excerpt from Swing Time before sitting down to a Q&A session with author and University of Chicago creative writing instructor Vu Tran. The excerpt described the narrator’s early childhood encounters with Tracy, a highly talented dancer in her tap class, and also described the narrator’s Jamaican mother and white father. She describes the affinity Tracy, whose father is in prison, has for the narrator’s father instead. Throughout the novel, Tracy remains a fixture in the

narrator’s mind as we follow her development through the lens of her changing relationship with the narrator. The ensuing conversation, which had a lively, easeful rhythm, affirmed what we already know about Smith: she is a supremely gifted and thoughtful author, the type that exudes a literary sensibility. She is also wise and at times a bit wry. While I would not go so far as to call her warm, she is obviously kind. “If you have a two-year-old, you’re operating a sort of fascist theocracy,” she quipped, reflecting on the influence of childhood that lingers in Swing Time and on how her perspective shifted once she became a mother. Those childhood years, she mused, only constituted a mere fraction of her entire life and yet they persist with the vividness of Technicolor. Swing Time literally swings time (an observation Tran made, which elicited laughter from the audience and a shrug from Smith) as it floats through the memories of the narrator and her childhood friend’s diverging adulthoods. Smith also said she wanted to depict female friendships in a complex light that is rarely present in literature and media—relationships based in part on the friendships in her own life. Tran asked Smith about the narrator’s desire to be submissive to those she views as greater than her. Smith said that while the concept of freedom as a value comes from the economic market, people tend to harbor a “desire to be unfree” as a way of giving shape to their lives. It was an observation that spurred an abundance of head nodding throughout the crowd. The conversation then transitioned into an audience-driven Q&A. When an audience member said she would “ask the Trump Question,” Smith groaned good-humoredly. She compared Trump’s temperament to that of her six-year-old daughter—prone to deflecting blame, acting completely inculpable, and being allergic to facts. Smith was then asked whether it was possible to depict characters with different

LUC BOYCE

life experiences honorably. She said if she were to think too deeply about the political implications of the characters she represents, she would not be able to write a word— and that furthermore, it is impossible to “represent” fictional people anyway because, as she said, “Fiction…is not a survey.” The line for the post-Q&A booksigning ran from far back in the auditorium and weaved well into the separate room where Smith sat. “She has such a sharp mind,” marveled one reader in the line. “She can look at a topic from a million different angles.” It was true: no matter what the question, Smith approached each in a way that might have occasionally been dissident but was also always respectful and eye-opening. She

advocates for a world of clarity and empathy, one where cultural differences are a marker of cohesive society and are to be treasured. But at the same time, she is not starry-eyed. While remaining well aware of the world as it is, she has an image of her ideal world and writes fiction to reflect that tension accordingly. When she spoke on the stage of the DuSable auditorium that Wednesday, as one imagines is the case every time she speaks, the audience gleaned the sense that a somewhat methodical mulling is constantly taking place in her expansive mind—and a sense of the wealth of knowledge stored beneath her cool, collected surface. ¬

DECEMBER 7, 2016 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 15


TRANSPORTATION

BULLETIN

Moving Forward

Minority Small Business Breakfast Roundtable

CTA secures $75 million in funding for Red Line Extension studies

If you’re a minority small business owner or self-employed entrepreneur, this is the breakfast roundtable session for you. Discuss views on issues affecting minority entrepreneurs, tax policies, and the impact of the state’s budget impasse on small business growth. Breakfast and coffee will, of course, be provided. Contact Geri Aglipay at gaglipay@smallbusinessmajority.org with questions. (Margaret Tazioli)

BY MICHAL KRANZ

A

s the year comes to an end, the Chicago Transit Authority is preparing for a changing of the guard at the federal level, and city officials are doing everything they can to secure funds for high-cost ventures before President Barack Obama leaves office. The Far South Side expansion of the Red Line, however, will have to wait another year, well into a Donald Trump presidency, to secure federal funding. Most coverage of the scramble for funding after Trump’s election has focused on a transportation project on the North Side. Last week, the city council approved a new tax-increment financing district to fund the Red and Purple Modernization project that seeks to rebuild sections of North Side train lines. Chicago’s forty-six aldermen approved the new measure unanimously. However, on November 27, the CTA and Mayor Rahm Emanuel also unveiled $75 million in new funding for a Red Line extension project that will add four new stations to the line between 95th Street and 130th Street by 2026. The CTA in a press release stated that this money will come from CTA bonds. The press release explained that while the funding will not go toward construction of the line itself, it will be put toward an engineering study and environmental analyses that, when completed, will allow the CTA to apply for over $1 billion in federal funding in over a year. The federal funding package the department will be applying for will make up only a portion of the estimated $2.3 billion dollars that the project will cost, as the rest will come from local and state sources. The environmental impact statement, which was the subject of a public comment period that ended on November 30, will play a role in finalizing a route for the new portion of the Red Line in 2017. Details of the engineering study are still unclear, but CTA media representative Irene Ferradaz said the final environmental impact statement will be completed after the route is finalized, and will be finished by 16 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

Sunshine Enterprises, 503 E. 61st St. Thursday, December 8, 8am–9:30am. Free. RSVP required. (773) 904-9800. sunshineenterprises.com

Property Owner Workshop Erie Neighborhood House, 1347 W. Erie St. Thursday, December 8, 5:30pm. (312) 6663430. eriehouse.org KATIE BART

at least 2018. Only then will the CTA be able to apply for federal funding. Ferradaz said the department has already sought to incorporate public input from the formal comment period into determining the exact route of the Red Line extension. However, as the Weekly reported three weeks ago, some activists and community members argue the single public hearing held during the comment period was not enough. At a public hearing held in Roseland on November 1 regarding a draft of the impact statement, a major point of concern for residents was the number of homes that would need to be demolished to make way for the new train line. Up to 248 homes could potentially be affected, with 175 affected by the potential east option and 113 by the west option. The CTA hopes the new funds will help streamline this planning process. “This investment will allow CTA to move forward with preliminary engineering and planning work necessary to seek federal funding to make this vision a reality for Chicago’s Far South Side,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter in a press release sent out last Sunday. Despite the press coverage of the rush to secure federal funds for the North Side project, the move to expedite the funding process ahead of Trump’s inauguration is not unusual, said CTA spokesman Brian Steele.

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“It is common for U.S. transit agencies to work to finalize funding agreements before the end of a current presidential administration,” he said in an email, recalling how similar measures were taken at the ends of the Clinton and Bush administrations. He said other cities like Los Angeles and Fort Worth are taking similar steps ahead of January 20, and said the CTA “looks forward to working with the new administration to continue the historic modernization CTA has been working on for the past several years.” A Freedom of Information Act inquiry revealed no CTA communications or records related to the South Side Red Line extension and Trump. As the CTA moves forward with the application for funding the South Side extension, that will likely change. “We plan to pursue federal ‘New Starts’ funding,” Ferradaz said in an email, referring to a grant program funded by the Federal Transit Administration for projects with costs over $300 million. The program is geared toward projects that seek to extend existing transit systems, so the Red Line extension is a perfect candidate for the grant, according to Ferradaz. “CTA is pleased to be moving this project forward,” she said. “It’s an exciting time for transit in the city.” ¬ Sam Stecklow contributed reporting.

Come learn more about being a better landlord, and how to work with the CHA at this event, cohosted with The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Clinic. There will be information about various housing resources, the Housing Choice Voucher program, and Erie Neighborhood House’s Buen HOGAR program. (Scott K. Olehnik)

Hyde Park Holly-Day 53rd St. in Hyde Park. Saturday, December 10, 10am–8pm. Free. downtownhydeparkchicago.com Visit Harper Court in Hyde Park for a day of family-fun holiday festivities. There will be pictures with Santa, ice carving demonstrations, caroling with the alderman, and cartoon characters wandering around the local businesses. Participating businesses will also be offering special sales. Be sure to check out the website for specific details. (Margaret Tazioli)

Coloring and Cocoa Imagination Children’s Academy, 1144 W. Madison St. Saturday, December 17, 11am– noon. $10. Family friendly. bit.ly/coloringcocoa Color your heart out next Saturday morning in an event for the whole family. Art Heart Kidz will supply the markers and coloring pages, as well as hot cocoa and cookies; just


EVENTS bring your creativity and holiday spirit. Each family will receive a swag bag with their paid ticket. (Emily Lipstein)

Facilitating Collaborative Groups The New Teacher Center, 310 Peoria St., Ste. 510. Tuesday, December 20, 8:30am– noon. Free for core partners, $75 early bird, $85 general admission. Buy tickets at bit.ly/ collaborative-groups by December 17. (773) 312-3898. umojacorporation.org This workshop explores ways to create collaborative classrooms and student groups that facilitate effective teamwork and learning. Teachers and youth group leaders can learn to foster spaces dedicated to collaboration and interactive experiences. (Scott K. Olehnik)

Fashion Sewing and Design Camp Cayenne Couture Atelier, 1665 E. 79th St. Monday, December 26–Friday, December 30. Sessions run 9am–11:30am and 12:30pm–3pm daily. $125 for one session, $225 for both sessions. Ages 9-16. Lunch and all supplies are included. Register at bit.ly/sewingdesigncamp. School may be out for winter break, but learning doesn’t need to be put on pause. Campers at the five-day Fashion Sewing and Design camp will learn how to handstitch, sketch, and machine-stitch from a professional fashion designer. Spend these five days wisely, and you might just head back to school in January sporting your own wearable artwork. (Emily Lipstein)

VISUAL ARTS Prints of Unusual Size Hoofprint Workshop, 2433 S. Oakley Ave. Opening Friday, December 9, 6pm–10pm. Through Sunday December 11 by appointment. Free. (773) 896-4326. hoofprintchicago.com Hoofprint Workshop hosts its second Prints of Unusual Size event, a follow-up to the woodcut challenge hosted last year. The work displayed this time around will feature a multitude of rich hues and techniques including woodcut, screen print, monotype, and mezzotint. Come by and enjoy the beautiful work and a glass of mulled cider. (Bridget Newsham)

MUSIC

Nothing Up My Sleeve Digital Art Demo Space, 2515 S. Archer Ave. Saturday, December 10, 8pm–11pm. $7-10 donation. (312) 451-2962. dadschicago.com Join six new media artists for a night of tricks and illusions using digital media. Emcee Lyra Hill hosts the night, packed with performances by Marcos Barnes, Sarah Squirm, and more. (Corinne Butta)

Artform: Discussion/Exhibit/ Party Elastic Arts, 3429 W. Diversey Ave., #208. Saturday, December 10, 9pm–5am. $10 advance tickets; $15 at the door with RSVP to artformchicago@gmail.com. (773) 772-3616. elasticarts.org Is partying an art? Join panelists Tiphanie Spencer, Robert Williams, Jerome Derradji, and more as they discuss this question and the history of nightlife over the last forty years. Then Jerome Derradji and Ron Trent will DJ into the night. Cash bar. (Corinne Butta)

Holiday Party and Art Sale Elephant Room Gallery at C.C.’s Art Garage, 2727 S. Mary St. Sunday, December 11, 3pm–7pm. Free. (312) 361-0281. elephantroomgallery.com Elephant Room is hosting a holiday party and an art sale at their new Bridgeport location. Featuring one hundred works of art from over thirty emerging artists in their BIG Small Works exhibit (each piece is under 30x30), the party will include a potluck, drinks, a raffle, and music courtesy DJ Hegemony. BIG Small Works will be open until January 7. (Margaret Tazioli)

North of Dixie: Civil Rights Photography Beyond the South DuSable Museum, Ames Auditorium, 740 E. 56th Pl. Thursday, January 12, 6:30pm– 8:30pm. $8 members, $10 non-members. (773) 947-0600. dusablemuseum.org To explore the civil rights movement beyond the well-known photographs from Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, author and historian Mark Speltz has collected images of everyday activists who led campaigns to protest racial discrimination north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Speltz will be highlighting images from Chicago and other cities. RSVP online. (Margaret Tazioli)

(according to the Tribune) only continues to grow. (Austin Brown)

Trapo

Tropical Diaspora with DJ GaRinchA

Reggies Rock Club, 2105 S. State St. Thursday, December 8, 6:30pm. $13 online, $15 day of show. All ages. (312) 949-0120. reggieslive.com

Punch House Chicago, 1227 W. 18th St. Wednesday, December 14, 9pm. Free. 21+. (312) 526-3851. punchhousechicago.com

Trapo’s not from Chicago: that’s the confession in his biggest track to date, “Chicago,” a swirling, moody hip-house confection that’s drawn a lot of attention since its release this summer. But he has enough rapping chops that he doesn’t really need to be; besides, he’s got plenty of local backup for this upcoming Reggies show— Supa Bwe opens, off a similarly hot set of releases from 2016. (Austin Brown)

Tropical Diaspora are from Berlin, but their record selections are anything but the usual fare from the techno hub of Europe. Rather, they’re dedicated to the musical traditions of the African diaspora, citing in their bio “Rare Afro-Brazilian, Latin and American Grooves,” which they’ll be spinning all night in Pilsen. (Austin Brown)

Twin Peaks

Billy Branch Promontory Chicago, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Friday, December 9, 7pm doors, 8pm show. $12 standing room, $19 seats, $30 table. All ages. (312) 801-2100. promontorychicago.com A former Weekly interviewee and Grammynominated blues expert, Billy Branch has made a name off both his international touring and his work in the modern Chicago blues scene, as well as his blues education work. Check his set at Promontory this Friday. (Austin Brown)

Lampo Performance with Charles Curtis Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., 9th floor. Friday, December 9, 8pm. Free with registration online. (773) 702-0200. arts.uchicago.edu

One of Chicago’s breakout rock acts of the last few years, Twin Peaks is returning to perform in the Windy City after a long year of touring and recording. Expect a wealth of attitude, riffage, and even—is that a little bit of honky-tonk twang? (Austin Brown)

STAGE & SCREEN Raising Bertie Kartemquin Films. Friday, December 9, 5pm– Friday, December 16. Free. (773) 472-4366. kartemquin.com

The acclaimed solo cellist performs a set of specially written pieces by La Monte Young, Alvin Lucier, Eliane Radigue, and more this Friday at the UofC’s Logan Center— and even better, it’s a part of the ongoing “Concrete Happenings” series that’s been puncturing the UofC’s art sphere for the past quarter. (Austin Brown)

Frieda Lee Room 43, 1043 43rd St. Sunday, December 11. First set 7:30pm, second set 9:30pm. $10 adults, $5 college students and children. Children must be accompanied by an adult. (773) 285-2222. hydeparkjazzsociety.com The ever-enthralling Frieda Lee brings her astounding pipes to Room 43 this Sunday, as her reputation as a “reluctant legend”

Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Friday, December 16. 7:30pm doors, 8:30pm show. $22. Limited door tickets only. All ages. (312) 526-3851. thaliahallchicago.com

Although you can in fact stream every Kartemquin film for free this month with the coupon code KTQ50, we wouldn’t want this week’s intended free film to get lost in the mix—Raising Bertie, the last of the already-released films streaming online in honor of the organization’s fiftieth anniversary, traces the coming-of-age of three African American boys in rural North Carolina as a window into the need for educational reform. ( Julia Aizuss)

JSmiles Comedy Slam The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St. Friday, December 9, 7:30pm. $10, $5 for students. the-revival.com Be prepared to do a little more than smile with Montgomery, Alabama native, southern belle-comic JSmiles as she debuts at The

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EVENTS Revival in Hyde Park. Expect some comedy that could aptly be called “woke,” with a lineup also featuring fellow Southern native Jonathan Giles. ( Jonathan Hogeback)

The QiQi-Underground Tea Party Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. Friday, December 9, 8pm–10pm. $15–$50. Tickets available at kiaralanier.com. (312) 857-5561. rebuild-foundation.org Tea parties. Afrobeat music. Experimental soliloquy. Art installations. Neo-Futurist theatre. Dance. In 2016, we’ve learned, anything can happen, and so can all these, under the auspices of just one two-hour event. This night, the “site-specific tea party” takes the theme: “There’s never a moment when you’re not practicing something.” ( Julia Aizuss)

Muntu Winter Concerts Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Friday, December 9–Sunday, December 11. $10, $8 for kids. (773) 241-6080. muntu.com The South Side-based Muntu Dance Theatre opens their three nights at the Logan Center with a student matinee on Friday, followed by a reception dinner and concert Saturday, and ending with a Sunday matinee. The concert series Manifest, in collaboration with Nunufatima Dance Company, blends African styles of dance and music in a culmination of Muntu’s forty-year dedication to the art. ( Jonathan Hogeback)

A Study in Rhyme and Song: Then There Were None High Concept Labs, 2233 S. Throop St. Sunday, December 11, 3pm–4pm. $10 general admission, $5 for students and seniors, free for kids under 12. (312) 850-0555. highconceptlaboratories.org Local DJ Sadie Woods spent this fall as a HCL Sponsored Artist, and she couldn’t have picked a better time to wrap up her sound installation performance: identity politics, progress, the possibility of a postrace nation, and social justice hashtags are just a few of the piping hot topics her work will be exploring through the musical lens of children’s music. ( Julia Aizuss)

Until, Until, Until with Edgar Arceneaux Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. Sunday, December 11, 4pm–6pm. Free. (312) 857-5561. rebuild-foundation.org What was once a play about an unfortunately edited television broadcast of a Broadway legend’s live performance in homage to vaudeville now comes to Black Cinema House as a short film. Having passed through so many iterations of media to get here, you’d be remiss in not stopping by to view this work, about the trials of artistic misunderstanding. ( Julia Aizuss)

A Kwanzaa Celebration DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Tuesday, December 27. Noon–2:30pm. Free. (773) 947-0600. dusablemuseum.org Enjoy holiday festivities and performances, featuring Najwa Dance Corps and singer and performer Maggie Brown, at the DuSable on the second day of Kwanzaa— the day of Self-Determination. Don’t be late for the drum call by the Thunder Sky Drummers promptly at noon. ( Jonathan Hogeback)

Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Tuesday, January 3, 7pm. Free. (773) 947-0600. southsideprojections.org South Side Projections and the DuSable are teaming up to honor the work of Zora Neale Hurston in the DuSable’s bimonthly film series by and about African-American women. With new insights from scholars and Hurston herself about her prolific and complex work, the 2008 film also kickstart’s Court Theatre’s “Harlem in Hyde Park” celebration of the Harlem Renaissance. ( Jonathan Hogeback)

The Lady’s Not for Burning University Church, 5655 S. University Ave. Friday, December 9–Sunday, December 11. Tickets $12.75, $15 at the door. hydeparkcommunityplayers.org Hyde Park Community Players will celebrate the holidays in characteristically idiosyncratic fashion by staging a play about a witch trial in a fifteenth-century English

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town. Critics have praised the playwright’s “insistence on the wonder of human life” and called the play a “poetic fantasy.” ( Jake Bittle)

RE/NIGHT/LIVE/MARE: Parts 2, 3, & 4 ACRE TV. Part 2: Tuesday, December 6– Monday, December 12; Part 3: Tuesday, December 13–Monday, December 19; Part 4: Tuesday, December 20–Saturday, December 31. acretv.org ACRE TV’s latest project might now be a little too timely: this diverse four-part multitude of twice-airing video art first and foremost “re-considers your nightmares.” To wrap up the series’ end in December, you can catch the daydreams, fantasies, and horrors reworked in second airings of Part 2 (NIGHT), Part 3 (LIVE), and Part 4 (MARE). ( Julia Aizuss)

Electra Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Through Sunday, December 11. $58, discounts available for seniors, faculty, and students. (773) 753-4472. courttheatre.org

What can you expect from family drama? In the case of the third and final chapter of Court’s Greek Cycle, a story in which “even justice can bring destruction.” In Sophocles’ play, Nicholas Rudall’s translation, and under Seret Scott’s direction, Electra and her brother Orestes scheme to avenge their father Agamemnon’s murder. (Daniel Mays)

In De’ Beginnin’ eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Through Saturday, December 24. $40, discounts for students and seniors. (773) 752-3955. etacreativearts.org Oscar Brown Jr.’s funky musical, based on the Book of Genesis, is eta Creative Arts’ holiday entertainment offering for families. Brown was a multitalented artist, civil rights activist, and humanitarian; his daughter Maggie Brown will take on musical direction for this production, which eta calls a “tribute” to one of “Chicago’s greatest artists.” ( Joseph S. Pete)


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The Holiday Issue