Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

City Council Votes on Event Promoters Ordinance Tomorrow!

The Event Promoters ordinance will go before the city council at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, May 14th. I received an e-mail about a campaign to flood city hall with opponents of this ordinance. The campaign is being organized through The Point, and the goal is for 100 people to commit to attending the council meeting tomorrow. Save Chicago Culture will present a petition opposing the ordinance at the meeting.

Because the proposal was fast-tracked through committee, the Chicago arts community has had very little time to respond. I, for one, will be attending the council meeting tomorrow. If you care about preserving Chicago’s theatre, music and comedy I expect to see you there too. If you can’t make it, please e-mail your alderman today and express your opinion.

Otherwise, I suppose you could just pay a hundred bucks a pop and go see Wicked again.

The Event Promoters’ Ordinance

Well, this is appalling.

This Wednesday the city council votes on the so-called “Event Promoters’ ordinance.” If this thing passes it could mean that any artist wishing to produce or promote his own work would have to pay up to $2,000 for a license. He or she would have to be over the age of 21, must get fingerprinted, submit to a background check, and inform the police seven days in advance of an event. This ordinance is aimed directly at small venues and new artists who have yet to develop an audience. Larger spaces that seat over 500 — in other words, places that can actually afford the license — are exempt.

The weblog Save Chicago Culture is collecting signatures in opposition to the ordinance. On their site you can find a .pdf of the complete text of the ordinance, as well as links to the city council site, and your local alderman. The Sun-Times’ Jim DeRogatis has an in-depth analysis on his blog.

The problem is, blogs are the only place this thing has gotten any attention. So, if you don’t want to lose the Double Door, Schuba’s, Martyrs’, the Vic, the Riv or the Metro, get a message to your alderman at once.

Boycott Mojoes?

Boycott MoJoes

It’s entirely unclear whether the people who might once wanted you to boycott Mojoes (2849 W Belmont) might still want you to do so. I’d love to contact them and ask them “why” but they’ve left absolutely no contact info on these stickers littered around the neighborhood. Which, in the age of free MySpace pages and Gmail accounts, is pretty inexcusable.

Art + Bikes = Rad


Ooh wee! My calendar just got a little happier with the addition of the Manifest Urban Arts Festival on May 16 and Andersonville Bike Week, May 12-18.

Manifest is a smörgåsbord of artsy amazingness created by Columbia College seniors and graduate students, including a two-hour live broadcast, Going Green For Our Future; an Animation Production Studio Screening; You Gotta Hear This: A Fiction Writing Department MFA student reading; Music! Music! Music!; and so much more.

Andersonville Bike Week packs in Yoga for Cyclists, Bike Maintenance 101 clinics, jazz, hip-hop, and spinning classes, art exhibits and body cleansing, along with tons of discounts at local merchants when you bring in your helmet. You’ll definitely find me heading over to La Cocina de Frida with my bike helmet to receive 15% off their yummy, plantain filled enchiladas. Oh yeah.


So, it’s Sunday morning and I’m watching X-Play on G4, because my wife is something of a video game nerd and I am a guy who thinks they are cool and wishes he was good at them. And they mention something I was unaware of before, but now that I know about it I want to pass it on: is, first of all, a great source for information about recycling your old electronic equipment. Just type in your ZIP code, select the type of thing you would like to recycle — anything from batteries, printer cartridges and floppy disks to old computers and game consoles — and get a list of locations in and around the city that will take your crap off your hands. I was surprised to learn that most area Staples and Best Buys will take most of this stuff, but even the Lincoln Park Zoo has a use for some of it. Each location has its own list of items they will accept.

The other reason to check out is because it is one of the coolest websites ever. You gotta check it out. It’s just plain fun to poke around on this thing.

I’ve always wondered what to do with this stuff. I’ve got old cell phones taking up drawer space that I just couldn’t bring myself to throw in the trash.

Da Merlot!

Mike Ditka has his own set of wines. One is even named “kick ass red wine”. The rest must be less capable in hand to hand combat since they just have regular wine names.  Had these wines been around earlier it might have completely changed the entire diet of Bill Swerski and the super fans.  Ditka’s wines are probably old news, but it still makes my brain do the super bowl shuffle trying to correlate Iron Mike with a bottle of chardonnay:

Mike Ditka Chardonnay

Too right little birdy!

over winter

A display in the window of the store Foursided.

Beet It.

I’d heard about cities in Ohio experimenting with beet juice for ice/snow removal on roadways, but I didn’t know that Chicago was doing it, too.

Sounds pretty good to me, although that business about the laser mounted poles does frighten me a bit…


I shaved my beard. Why would I part with something that I have described as “my sideburns giving my face a hug”? I did so because now I am growing a mustache for charity.

826CHI is a non-profit org that gives free tutoring and writing classes to students from 6-18. As a teacher and lover of writing, I have to lend all my support to this organization. In this case, all of my support involves growing a mustache till March 29th. I’m aiming for a Sheriff Bullock from the TV show Deadwood look. If it goes really well I could end up looking like the historical Sheriff Bullock. If it goes real bad, I could end up looking like Sandra Bullock.

If you want to support writing classes for Chicago’s youth or you want to support my hirsute march toward uber-masculinity, then click on this link to take you to the Mustache-a-thon’s page. Then click on the link under Bryan Bowden’s loverly visage. BAM! You just donated.

Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your employer (who might match your donation), tell everyone to donate to this wonderful organization and the creation of a more mustached world.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

On February 6th the city council is voting on a proposed increase in the transfer tax. Until a few minutes ago I didn’t know what a transfer tax was. Apparently, if you buy property in Chicago, you have to pay $7.50 for every one thousand dollars you spend. If the proposal passes, that will go up to $10.50 – a forty percent increase. The main purpose of the increase is to fund the CTA. You recall all those “Doomsday Averted!” headlines a couple of weeks ago? This is how they averted it.

Real estate groups are upset about this, and have even launched a new website to voice their concerns. At first glance, one cannot help but wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier to just raise the fares. But then it occurs to me that the whole reason they didn’t raise the fares was to avoid causing economic hardship for the vast amount of riders who, like myself, are not in a position to start buying property anyway.

But then I wonder, is it fair to ask other people to foot the bill so that I can save a few bucks on bus fare?

I genuinely don’t know the answer to this question. I’m interested in hearing what you all have to say about it.

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