Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ho, Ho, Ho, It's Magic!

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Lots of magic at the Uptown Underground!
The Chicago Magic Lounge, a new weekly happening at the Uptown Underground, has successfully established itself Chicago's new home for a lost Chicago tradition: close-up magic.

Step back in time to Chicago’s old-school magic bars, and become immersed in a night full of close-up magic, bar magic, table-hopping magicians, and main stage acts of the highest caliber. The Chicago Magic Lounge aims to bring you the city's best magic every Thursday night. Teaming up with the Uptown Underground, the Lounge is dedicated to revitalizing an important Chicago tradition. Close-up magic just got a lot closer.

Chicago has a rich history of magic performed in front of your eyes in bars. Magic bars were all the rage during the 1960's and 70's and that live magical entertainment was just a short ride away for many Chicagoans. There was the well-known New York Magic Lounge in Lincoln Square, the famous Schulien's in North Center, and South Side club Little Bit O' Magic. People flocked to the magic bars to share the laughter and awe generated from the miracles of Chicagoan magicians. They were all places to see magic happen up-close and personal, providing an exciting and unforgettable experience. They pioneered what is now known as the "Chicago Style" of magic: magic right at your table. 

Chicago Magic Lounge performers include headliner Jim Bergstrom along with magicians John Sturk, Lee Benzaquin, Luis Carreon, Kex Lang, Mike Rhodes, and Bill Weimer, the man who literally wrote the book on Chicago magic bars: Now You See Them, Now You Don’t.

The 8:00pm show includes close-up, strolling, and bar magic, with showcase acts on the stage throughout the night. At 10:00pm show is the Magic Lab - a chance for magic performers to test out material and work on new effects for their professional or amateur acts.

The goal of the Chicago Magic Lounge is to provide an unforgettable experience that will leave the audience wondering not only how the magicians do it, but what will happen next.

Chicago Magic Lounge
Every Thursday Night at 8:00pm.

Uptown Underground, 4707 N Broadway (just south of Lawrence Ave), Chicago, IL 60640.

$20 tickets and more information are available at 773.867.1946 or

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chipotle Is Hiring, Opening Date Still Unannounced

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Last report we had, the new Chipotle coming to 5224 North Broadway, at Foster, was tentatively scheduled to open on Sunday, March 29.

We haven't heard anything different, but the Chipotle website just says "Coming Soon."  Your guess is as good as ours.  It looks turnkey ready, but there's been no announcement about a Grand Opening.

They are looking for staff, particularly "New Restaurant Opening Crew."  Click here to see the job descriptions in Spanish and English.

Aldermanic Forums? Yes, Indeed! Live and Televised

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If you're still on the fence about who to vote for in the 46th Ward aldermanic run-off, or if you just want to root for your candidate, there are several 46th Ward forums before Tuesday, April 7th.
  • On Saturday, March 28, at 2pm, the League of Women Voters Chicago is sponsoring a forum between Ald. James Cappleman and challenger Amy Crawford at Preston Bradley Center, 941 West Lawrence (aka the People's Church).
  • On Wednesday, April 1, there will be the first of two televised debates between the two candidates, and Buena Park Neighbors will be holding viewing parties for them both at Buena Beach Bar & Grill, in the Imperial Towers building at 4250 North Marine.  There will be light refreshments, and food and drink specials.  The televised debate will be on WTTW's Chicago Tonight program, from 7pm-8pm (doors open at 6pm).
  • On Friday, April 3, Buena Beach Bar & Grill will once again open its doors at 6pm for a viewing party.  This time the debate will be on CLTV's Politics Tonight, from 6:30pm-7pm.
UU Note:  The East Lakeview Neighbors live debate originally scheduled at Temple Sholom has been cancelled, and the original times for the televised debates have been corrected.  Please note the correct information above.  We apologize for the earlier, inaccurate information.

Friday, March 27, 2015

TV Pilot Shooting Next Week Near Entertainment District


Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader who spotted this sign with parking restrictions for the area around Uptown Square.  Looks like they will need to use the parking spaces on various streets, but the street closure itself will be on the 4600 block of Racine.

Twentieth Century Fox is currently filming two pilots in Chicago, so we don't know which this is.  Could be Runner, starring Adam Rodriguez and Paula Patton.  Could be Love Is A Four Letter Word, starring Nadine Velazquez and Rockmond Dunbar.  Guess we'll find out on Monday.

If you can't see the image above, here are the restrictions cited:
  • Broadway from Racine to Leland, West Side only
    (no parking Monday, March 30, 7am until Wednesday, April 1, 5pm)
  • Broadway from Leland to Clifton, East Side only
    (no parking Monday, March 30, 6pm until Wednesday, April 1, 1am)
  • Leland from Racine to Broadway, both sides of the street
    (no parking Monday, March 30, 6pm until Wednesday, April 1, 1am)
  • Racine from Wilson to Broadway, both sides of the street
    (no parking Monday, March 30, 6pm until Wednesday, April 1, 1am)
  • Racine from Wilson to Leland
    (street closed Tuesday, March 31 from 6pm to 11:59pm)

Learn About Block Clubs, Court Advocates, and 311/911 Calls

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mapping The Votes In The 46th Ward

click to enlarge
Aldertrack, the news service that keeps an eagle eye on Chicago's political scene, mapped (literally) the 18 wards that are having aldermanic runoffs.  From an email sent Wednesday:
"With the help of Northwestern University Assistant Professor Tom Ogorzalek, we've mapped out each of the aldermanic runoff wards votes by precinct from the February 24 general election. You can download the maps for free here.
As with yesterday's data, the maps work like a heat map, where you can see the runoff candidates' strongest turnouts, and also their weakest turnouts where their first round challengers were stronger. You can immediately see where each candidate's base exists and where they have more work to do."
If you're interested in subscribing to Aldertrack, the info on how to do so is here.

Clarendon Park Egg Hunt

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On Saturday, April 4th, Clarendon Park will hold an egg hunt for kids between the ages 3-8.  It's free, but bring a basket for your treasures!  The Bunny will be there, and it all happens between 11am and noon.  Clarendon Park Fieldhouse is located at 4501 North Clarendon, at Sunnyside.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cappleman Aldermanic Office Defaced Overnight

A reader sent in photos she took of the 46th Ward aldermanic office (4544 North Broadway), the front windows of which got covered in graffiti sometime overnight.  Apparently the vandal doesn't like gangs, drugs, "Capelman," "Emanual" or proper spelling.  (Really, Ace, the name you're going for is spelled properly just a few inches away!) Presumably they also didn't notice all the security cameras aimed right at the McJunkin Building, either.  Klassy.

This Sunday At Chase Park, The Ever-Popular EGGStravaganza

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Have You Voted Yet? Your Neighbors Have

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So, a freak snowstorm on the first day of early voting, and say what? The numbers are UP for the first two days?

More than 21,000 Chicagoans have taken advantage of early voting so far - more than any other early voting opening since it started.

In the 46th Ward (two offices to vote for), 393 of you early-voted (that's 1.37% of the registered voters in the ward).  In the 47th (one office), 453 did (1.36% of the registered voters). In the 48th (one office), 378 did (1.27% of the registered voters).

Will you be a decision maker, or will you be someone who stands by and watches while others make choices that affect you? Early voting is open every day through April 4th.  Details are here.

Aldertrack's chart of the first two days of early voting is here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Story Club North Side Announces April Line-Up

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As it does every month, Story Club will take place at the Holiday Club on the first Thursday, April 2nd. for an evening of fun and entertainment with witty raconteurs.  April's theme will be "When It Rains...."

"The rain makes people do funny things. On Thursday, April 2nd, Story Club North Side is tackling stories of little things that balloon into big things because when it pours. Featuring these talented performers:
  • Bill Drew
  • Zach Zimmerman
  • Rose Lannin 
As always, there are three open mic slots available.  Open mic participants are given 8 minutes (1300 words) and they may tell a story on the theme or not. Open mic sign-up starts at 7:30pm and co-hosts Dana Norris and Erin Kahoa will start the show at 8pm. If more than three storytellers sign up, we’ll draw names for the slots."

The Holiday Club is located at 4000 N Sheridan, at the corner of Irving Park.  For more information about Story Club, visit its website:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Q & A With The 46th Ward Candidates

We've been asked by readers to provide more substantive coverage of the 46th Ward's candidates in the run-off election.  A few days ago, we approached the campaigns of both Amy Crawford and James Cappleman to ask if they would be willing to answer five questions about themselves, how they view the ward, and how they foresee its future. Below are their answers, just as they provided them to us. We thank both James and Amy for taking the time during this busy campaign season to answer our questionnaire.

You can click on each page image below for a larger, easier-to-read version.

Amy Crawford
UU Note: Here are clickable hyperlinks referenced by Amy in her responses: and

James Cappleman

Early Voting Begins Tomorrow in Mayoral/Aldermanic Runoffs

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So we should all be really good at early voting by now, since we just did it last month, right?

Starting tomorrow (March 23rd), and running through Saturday, April 4th, early voting for the April 7th municipal election will be open all over the city.  No matter where you live, you can vote at any polling place you choose.  All polling places are open 9am-5pm Monday through Saturday, and Sunday 9am-3pm.

Why early vote?  
  • Three words: Shortest. Ballot. Ever.  Everyone in the city will have the opportunity to vote for Mayor.  In the 46th Ward (and 17 other wards around the city), voters will have the opportunity to choose an alderman.  That's it. At most, two decisions to make.
  • It's where your voice is the loudest. Traditionally, the runoff election has a lower voter turnout than the general election.  Every vote counts.
  • You get to choose when and where you vote. There's one polling place per ward, as well as one at the Board of Elections at 69 West Washington.  You can early vote at any of them. You're not tied down to a single polling place, like you are on Election Day.  The entire list is here.
  • Better voting equipment. By law, on Election Day, each precinct must have one electronic voting station. Guess where all those easy-to-use electronic voting machines hang out before Election Day?  At the early voting locations.
  • No Election Day surprises, like, say, a blizzard.  A monsoon.  Cubs traffic.
  • It will stop most of the campaign phone calls.  Most campaigns get daily lists of the early voters. They're interested in reaching potential voters, not people who have already voted. A few phone calls may slip through, but most of them will stop once you've voted.
A few things to remember about early voting:
  • You'll need to bring and show a government-issued photo ID (unlike Election Day, when your matching signature is your ID).
  • Early voting locations in and around Uptown: Truman College, 1145 West Wilson (46th Ward), Welles Park, 2333 West Sunnyside (47th Ward), and Edgewater Public Library, 6000 North Broadway (48th Ward).  But it bears repeating -- you can vote at any early voting location, anywhere in the city, regardless of where you live.
  • Want to see a sample ballot?  Go here, plug in your personal information, and it will show you a sample ballot for your precinct.
So, choose a day you've got some free time, get out there to a polling place, and do your civic duty, you sexy ballot-casting voter, you.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Treasure Hunt! Rummage Sale This Afternoon

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Today at the Preston Bradley Center, Noon through 4pm.  "Nice furniture, clothes, office equipment - tables, chairs, drums, futon & frame, couch, steel drums, theatrical fabric, 32" television, baseball hats (a hundred!), tchochkes, Fiestaware dishes (20-some pieces) - in short, Rummage Extraordinaire!"

Preston Bradley Center is located at 941 West Lawrence, at Sheridan.

Tokyo Marina's Last Days, 4 Story Development Coming Soon

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Demolition underway at Clark & Carmen
Our friends at Foursided (Clark and Carmen) sent in this pic that shows neighboring sushi restaurant Tokyo Marina in its final days.
Rendering of 5058 N. Clark
According to Ald. Pawar's office, this corner will be redeveloped into a 4 story development with 6 units marketed as luxury rentals. It had initially been reported that these would be condos, but again, according to Ald. Pawar's office, they will be rentals.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Need to Wash the Winter Off Your Vehicle?

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Help the Uplift Titans raise money for equipment and uniforms!  And get your car sparkling clean at the same time.  Friends of the 46th Ward Schools posts, "Spring is here!  Uplift Community High School is holding a car wash fundraiser over the next few weeks to raise money for Uplift student athletes.  Stop by the school (900 W. Wilson, enter on Eastwood) Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. or on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and have your car washed. Washes are $10 per vehicle."

Addressing Homelessness Under The Viaducts

From Ald. Cappleman's latest email blast:

"Ald. Cappleman asked the City to step up its efforts to find housing for people living under the Wilson & Lawrence viaducts along Lake Shore Drive. In response, Thresholds was awarded a grant specifically to reach vulnerable populations and they are beginning this program at these two viaducts. Thresholds was chosen because they are well known for successfully getting people stuck in the cycle of chronic homelessness into permanent housing. Other involved social services will be encouraged to coordinate and collaborate with Thresholds to facilitate this intervention that is focused on stronger outcome measures."

46th Ward Aldermanic Forum On March 28

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Still undecided about who to vote for on April 7th?  The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a forum with James Cappleman and Amy Crawford, 46th Ward aldermanic candidates, on Saturday, March 28th, at 2pm.  It will be held at the People's Church at Preston Bradley Center, 941 West Lawrence.  Probably your last chance to hear from both of them prior to the election.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Join The Police and Alderman in Clarendon Park Tonight

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Man Shot In Clarendon Park Wednesday Afternoon

Wednesday afternoon, shortly before 5pm, there was a shooting in the Clarendon Park area.  A man, age 25, was hit in the arm and will survive. Initial reports said the shooting took place on the 4500 block of Clarendon, but the police blocked off Hazel between Agatite and Windsor during the investigation.

Due to an increased police presence in the area stemming from the murder in the same area nine days ago, cops were on the scene immediately, and a helicopter was dispatched shortly afterward to try to find the shooters.  We don't know if they were apprehended.

We are told that the funeral of Troy Phelon, who was killed on March 9, was held Wednesday, and it's possible that the shooting was in retaliation for his murder.

At the Beat 1914 CAPS meeting a week ago, the police officers said that Mr. Phelon was "associated" with a gang, but was not a gang member.  They said his death was the result of taunting between rival gangs on YouTube and other social media.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sun-Times Interviews Cappleman, Crawford About Runoff Election

Al Podgorski/Sun-Times Media photos

The Sun-Times has an article focusing on the runoff elections in the 43rd and 46th Wards.  Read it here.

Double Murder At Club Owned By Menetti Family

All we can say is, thank goodness for Uptown's activist community.

Early this morning. there was a double murder at The Dolphin nightclub in Bucktown, formerly known as Green Dolphin Street.  It's owned and managed by members of the Menetti family, well known in Uptown for their shameful ownership and management of Lawrence House and other derelict properties.

A fight that started inside The Dolphin spilled outside onto the street, where shots rang out, killing two men and injuring another. Ald. Scott Waguespak says the club has had stabbings, shootings, and fights on the dance floor. At one point, the club was closed down, but allowed to reopen.  Bad management led to the deaths of two men today.

Could this have happened in Uptown?  If the Menetti family had gotten its way, it well could have.  In late 2012, a group called Broadway Tavern Inc. applied for a license to open a tavern at Irving Park and Broadway.  A little poking through the public records revealed that the Menetti family were the applicants.

Based on the conditions into which Lawrence House had deteriorated, and the criminal activities documented at Green Dolphin Street, the block club (Buena Park Neighbors), Ald. Cappleman, Rep. Greg Harris, the Liquor Control Commissioner and many concerned neighbors all opposed granting a license to Broadway Tavern.  The Menetti family appealed the denial several times, but ultimately the license was denied.  It took a great number of people a lot of time and effort to ensure another Menetti-managed entity didn't become part of our community.

It looks as if the city will now do its best to close down The Dolphin Club.  What a shame that people had to die for it to happen.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Uplift Titans Win State Basketball Championship

In an absolute nailbiter tonight, the Uplift Titans defeated the St. Teresa Bulldogs (from Decatur) to win the Division 2A State Title.  The score went back and forth several times, but the Titans ended up winning by the score 53-47.

Congratulations to Coach David Taylor and to the players, all of whom had us cheering at the TV at different times during the very tense game.  Jeremy Roscoe was Player of the Game.

Wonderful job wrapping up a dream season.

Update:  The Tribune has a photo gallery here.

Update:  An early newspaper report from Peoria here.

Update:  The Tribune's story is here.

Voting Now Open For 47th Ward Menu Money Projects

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If you live or own a business in the 47th Ward, Ald. Pawar wants to hear from you about what projects you want done with the 2015 menu money that each ward receives.  He says in his most recent newsletter:

"Every year, each ward is allocated $1.32 million in aldermanic menu funding for public infrastructure projects. The next step in determining how our menu dollars will be spent is for all of you to vote on which projects you would like to see completed. The first step in this process was completed last Fall when individuals and neighborhood groups submitted block audits. For this menu season we received 176 block audits from all around the 47th Ward.  This is an all-time high -- up 60% from last year. I want to thank everyone who took the time to complete a block audit. To see the final report on last year's aldermanic menu program, please click here.

In addition to the data provided by the block audits, the 47th Ward Team has been sorting through service request data from the city's 311 system and other requests made to our office to determine which projects to consider this year. They also excluded projects which have already been budgeted in a previous year or that were recently completed.

Voting for the 2015 aldermanic menu begins TODAY, and you can vote on projects by clicking here. To take a look at the projects before logging on to vote, please click here. Voting will be open until 5pm on Friday, April 3rd. While you and your neighbors are considering which projects to support, the 47th Ward Team will be traveling throughout the ward to survey all of our alleys, streets, sidewalks and other public infrastructure. I will use all of this data to finalize the list of projects that will be submitted to the City for this year's menu.

Please know that our submission is not the end of the process. The Chicago Department of Transportation carefully surveys each project. They also coordinate with the Department of Water Management and other utilities to ensure that our work is not done ahead of other major capital work like a water main replacement. This process saves valuable tax dollars, but can create changes in our initial submission. As always, we will report back to you on the projects selected for 2015.

Your input is vitally important as we determine which projects to fund with our limited budget. I hope that you will take the time to vote and please urge your neighbors to do so as well. If you have any questions, please contact my office."

Uplift Titans Go To State Finals Saturday

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Friday the 13th was a very good day for Uplift's basketball Titans, as they defeated downstate Breese's Mater Dei Knights in the Division 2A semi-final game of the IHSA state championship.  The final score was 72-50.  The Tribune's description of the game is here.

Saturday night they play in the state finals against Decatur's St. Theresa.  It will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Net and streamed on at 8:30pm.

Great job, Titans and Coach Taylor!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Uptown's Haitian American Museum Holding A Fundraiser This Saturday

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See The Beach Boys At Montrose Beach! (Kool & The Gang, Too)

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Want to hear Surfin' Safari near the sound of the surf?  "Celebrate Good Times" right in your own neighborhood?

You can, in just a few months.  The Dock at Montrose Beach will be the site of a concert by the Beach Boys, with Kool and the Gang as opening act, right here in Uptown, right on the sand.

It all takes place on Friday, June 26th, and tickets go on next Friday, March 20th.  Details here.

Sheridan/Foster Vintage Apartment Building Goes On The Market


Real estate in our area continues to be hot, with the 233-unit apartment building at 5200 Sheridan going on the market.  According to
“We are expecting to see offers north of $125,000 a door,” Susan Tjarksen, principal, managing broker of KIG, tells, or nearly $28 million. “Institutional investors from both coasts are showing increased interest in Chicago neighborhoods—especially Uptown, Logan Square and Edgewater. This is the biggest asset to be traded at a national level.”

Originally built in the 1920s to serve as a luxury hotel, the building, now owned by the Kopley Group, features a mix of efficiencies, studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. The first floor has about 25,000 square feet of vacant retail space which new owners can reconfigure for parking, amenities, or new commercial tenants. [...]

“The new ownership could also enhance the property with roof-top decks,” Stofflet adds. “The views of parks and Lake Michigan are incredible, and either of the expansive rooftops of the mid-level roof decks could be adapted for common area usage as an outdoor amenity.” [...]

“We have already seen strong interest and are expecting to call for offers by the end of the month,” says Tjarksen.
The entire article is on the website, and you must be registered to read it.

Status Check: Cantina de la Granja & Andersonville Gateway

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Cantina de la Granja, 5025 N. Clark
Work is progressing nicely on the upcoming Cantina de la Granja at Clark & Winnemac. Check out how the building looked just a few months back. The restaurant was hoping for an opening this spring but we are guessing it might be late-spring, early summer at this point. It is a welcome addition for Mexican cuisine for sure!

Candea Development's Andersonville Gateway site, Lawrence & Clark
Just a bit south down Clark at Lawrence, Candea Development's "Andersonville Gateway" is beginning to rise from the long vacant lot on the NW corner. Candea broke ground on the project in December with all of the foundation being done since then. Expect to see this rise quickly!

Explore Uptown's Architectural History At The Bezazian

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This is the first in a series of Uptown history programs sponsored by Uptown United and Uptown SSA #34. For more information, click here.