October 2008 Archives

Arts, Culture, and Pumpkins

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Toothpaste For Dinner
Still need to get into the season? Check out these local events that will up your cultural karma without breaking the bank (even if you're a grad student).

The National Museum of Mexican Art hosts La Vida Sin Fin every Tuesday - Sunday until December 14. On Saturday, November 1, from 6 to 8 PM, the museum will hold a Dia de los Muertos community night. "Remember your lost loved ones on this Day of the Dead and enjoy the exhibition, hot chocolate, day of the dead bread, art making, and more."

Check out the Irish American Heritage Center's Samhain/Day Of The Dead...thinking About Persephone Exhibit. "Samhain/Day of the Dead...thinking about Persephone is a mixed media group show that celebrates the festivals, Samhain and Day of the Dead. Both festivals participate in the birth, death and resurrection cycle. This year's exhibit again includes similar traditions of other cultural groups, including the Greek culture. The art will be presented by sculpture, paintings and installations." This free exhibit is open from 1-4 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Look out for rats at the 12th annual North Halsted Halloween Parade -- this year's highlight is the Rat City float. The parade starts at 7 PM on Belmont & Halsted and continues north to Addison. A costume contest is open to those who register at 5:30 before the event, with mad cash prizes for the most creative.

If you're not familiar with the Japanese film genre of Pinky Violence, Tokyo Gore Police might be the best introduction you could hope for. Facets Cinemateque is playing the film from October 31 to November 6 at 7 and 9:15 for $9.

Chicago #8 on Global Cities Index

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"Cities bear the brunt of the world's financial meltdowns, crime waves, and climate crises in ways national governments never will."  Check out the rankings and the articles posted by Foreign Policy, A.T. Kearney, and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

I've heard Chicago referred to as the most cosmopolitan provincial (or provincial cosmopolitan) city.  Is Chicago a Global City?  Why or why not?

John Burge Charged with Lying about Police Torture

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Retired Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was arrested Tuesday on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in relation to the decades-long police torture scandal in Chicago.  Here's the Tribune article.

The Chicago Reader's John Conroy has been reporting on the story for two decades.  The Reader's police torture archive includes a who's who on the scandal and 20 questions for Mayor Daley.

Chgo Matters: Recycling at the Sears Tower

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Chicago Matters: Growing Forward: Taking Recycling to New Heights
"More than 8,000 people work at the Sears Tower. You can imagine how much garbage all those people produce...In less than two years, the building has gone from recycling seven tons of paper a month, to nearly 50."

Part of the Chicago Matters series on WBEZ, WTTW, and the Chicago Reporter.  See also Green Chicago in the Resource Section or go to the Environmental Studies Program Open House today at 5 pm in Pick Hall.

What do you think about recycling in Chicago?

Chicago Marathon results

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Yesterday's Chicago Marathon drew 33,033 runners from around the world to its 26 mile course through nearly 30 neighborhoods. The first to finish was Australian Kurt Fearnley at 1:30:16 in the men's wheelchair division. The first men's runner to finish was Kenyan Evans Cheruiyot in 2:06:25, the first women's runner was Russian Lidiya Grigoryeva in 2:27:17, and the first women's wheelchair placer was Amanda McGrory from Champaign in 1:55:12.

Not sure you could match these times? This product promises to improve your (and your children's!) odds.

Warning: Watching video in a workplace may cause your supervisor to wonder if you've got anything better to do with your time.

Bike Tour - Chicago Weekly Story

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Chicago Weekly feature:  City as a Classroom on the Southside History Bike tour. 

Also - more photos in Chicago Studies Flickr Group. Photo below by Avi Schwab/froboy


The New University Conference

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"A national organization of radicals who work in, around, and in spite of institutions of higher education."

One of the least-appreciated but most fantastic resources on campus is the Special Collections Research Center in the Reg. Among its many resources are thousands of documents, rare manuscripts, letters, photographs, and ephemera that have been collected since the University's founding in 1892. Presidents' papers, students' notes, yearbooks, student publications, and assorted RSO paraphernalia are all easily accessible, and can provide more nuance to history than a secondary account ever could. The archivists and librarians in Special Collections are tremendously knowledgeable and helpful in turning the myriad resources into usable material, making primary research an absolute pleasure.

Last winter, I was enrolled in the Chicago 1968 course, which involved a good deal of archival research. I focused on student activist groups in the late sixties, and turned up a surprising number of parallels to current activist RSOs. The New University Conference organized a walkout at Billings Hospital that was uncannily similar to the battle SOUL (Students Organizing United with Labor) and campus and hospital staff waged last year to secure a fair contract. The Chicago Women's Liberation Union and Chicago Women's Union held a conference with workshops that prefigured several of the Feminist Majority's events from spring quarter 2008.

Below I've summarized some of my findings about one student group, including citations to the relevant archives in Special Collections. Check out the finding aids to see if the RSOs you're involved in have precursors. Were they working for the same things your group is today? Was membership similar? Were their hairstyles particularly ridiculous? All good questions.

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Chess in HP, Best of South Side

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  • UofC's Home Page Feature Story on fourth-year Sarra Jahedi's film The Game for the course Documentary Video Production, taught by Judy Hoffman, Senior Lecturer in the Humanities.  The Game looks at the chess players who meet throughout surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Chicago Weekly, the student newspaper, features 'the Best of the South Side' - check out their picks, send them your own suggestions.

Joys and Challenges of Tutoring

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This is from Amy Estersohn, student in the College. Hyperlinks are mine (dhays).

"Like many U of C students, I'm very good with reading words but not that good with saying them aloud to people I've never met.  And, like many U of C students, the city of Chicago amazes me, compels me, and occasionally frightens me.  I can get off the Red Line at the Belmont stop and admire the expensive stores and the beautiful people, but in order to get there I have to take the 55 bus through Washington Park and Englewood, areas that have their own sense of pride and community but where the tourists never come.

Early on in my college career, I decided I wanted to get more acquainted with these nearby neighborhoods.  After all, we'll be living next to each other for the next four years; it would be silly of me not to stop by and say hello.  Additionally, growing up in the suburbs, I had never communicated with anybody outside of my racial or socioeconomic class.  College is a time to try new things, and I wanted to engage with people who didn't remind me of myself.

Given that academics are my passion and I could find a way to talk about school at any time and to anybody, I decided to pursue volunteer tutoring opportunities.  I was overjoyed to hear about the Chicago Youth Programs, particularly because the tutoring sessions are held across the street from my dorm.  On Mondays and Wednesdays, I used to get back from class, play a few songs on Guitar Hero, and then sprint to tutoring to make it on time, with 3 sharpened pencils in hand.

I got to know the CYP students well and I did my best to instill a sense of pride and confidence that was instilled in me when I was in their shoes.  Since I have no formal teacher training, I flew by the seat of my pants in trying to make learning fun.  When we did multiplication, I talked about batches of cookies, about money, about pencils and pens.  When we did the coordinate plane, I asked them what intersection they lived on, where they went to school, where they were right now, and I mapped the buildings out.  When we worked on reading and writing skills, I had them dictate notes to each other and read them back to me after a few "rehearsals."  Not every attempt to teach something was successful, but it was almost always fun, if not for them, then for me.  It got us talking and laughing and hugging.

And sometimes my kids would come up with fascinating, probing questions, questions that reminded me that their intelligence and awareness was in some cases well beyond their academic abilities.  "I have a question to ask you," one of my girls whispered to me one day.

"What is it?"

"What does it feel like to be white?"

I can't remember how I answered her, but I tried to steer her away from a question that's puzzled and enraged many artists and thinkers over the past couple of hundred years.  I wasn't ready to tell her that life is unfair, that some people come from privilege and some don't, and that it's up to us as citizens of this great city to improve the quality of life for all.  I also wasn't ready for this honest and striking conversation.  But maybe you are."

Thanks, Amy.  For info on tutoring, come to UCSC's Volunteer Information Session: Tutoring on Thursday, October 16.