Friday, May 22, 2015

Silent Movie Filmed In Uptown A Century Ago Rediscovered, Restored

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This is so cool.  A silent movie filmed at Essanay Studios on Argyle in 1915 (now St. Augustine College), featuring the only screen appearance by the then-well-known stage star William Gillette, was presumed lost.  Amazingly, a complete print of the movie in excellent condition was discovered last year in the archives of a film repository in France. Now Sherlock Holmes has been digitally restored and will debut at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival on May 31.

No plans for a Chicago showing yet, but the Tribune's Michael Phillips says, "it'd be pretty stupid if this historical Essanay document didn't get a local airing at least in time for the Chicago International Film Festival in October."

Further on in the Tribune article, Phillips writes:  "The stage star was 63 years old when he shot the movie at Essanay Studios on 1333 W. Argyle, in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, in the spring of 1916 [UU note: The BBC says it was filmed in 1915]. A handful of scenes in "Sherlock Holmes" bring Gillette and company outdoors for exterior shots. These are fascinating slivers of history. Chicagoans will relish glimpses of Holmes stepping out of a horse-drawn carriage, in a cobblestone alley meant to be London but in reality somewhere in Chicago. The West Side? The Gold Coast? Who can say?"

The Tribune articles may be behind a paywall if you've already seen your five complimentary articles for the month, but we'll link to them and trust you can find your way to them:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sticking Around The Holiday Weekend? Free Concert At People's Music School

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BRASS BASH!  Join us for a free recital celebrating the beautiful sounds of brass instruments! This event will feature Uptown Academy students, performers from Northwestern University, and our ensemble in residence, The People's Brass Quintet.

WHEN:  Saturday, May 23rd at 3pm
WHERE:  The People's Music School, Uptown Academy, 931 West Eastwood Avenue

Ace Hardware Gets Its First Dose Of Vitamin D

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Looking south on Broadway from Clifton

Ace Hardware (Broadway and Clifton) is getting its first real taste of sunshine now that the concrete tracks that ran directly in front of it for years and years have finally come down. The jackhammer was banging away at the last remaining section just south of the building this afternoon. What a difference! Now that the storefront is more visible, can we expect to see new signage and more vibrant display windows? Time will tell.

Sensory-Friendly Music Event For Children On The Autistic Spectrum

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#TBT Foster Avenue Beach 70 Years Ago

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click to enlarge

Seems a shame to have a beach picture in black-and-white, especially one featuring a pink building in the background, but that's how they rolled in 1945.  Check out Uptowners enjoying Foster Avenue Beach, looking north, with the Edgewater Beach Hotel in the background.

In present day, Friday is the official opening day for Chicago beaches!

"American Revolutionary" Doc At The Bezazian On Saturday

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"State Of Uptown" Luncheon May 27 @ Uptown Underground

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Please join us for the annual "State of Uptown" luncheon with speakers Alderman James Cappleman (46th Ward), Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward), and Alderman Harry Osterman (48th Ward)  as well as Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer (10th District).

It will be held at Uptown's newest entertainment venue, Uptown Underground. Buffet lunch provided by Palla's Grill. Tickets: $20. Click here to register

Hosted by Uptown United and Uptown Business Partners.

Do You Get Updates From "SweepAround.Us"?

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If you get monthly reminders about street cleaning from SweepAround.Us, time to re-up.

"On May 18th, 2015, the City of Chicago's new ward map went into effect, affecting many city services, including the street sweeping areas used by this website. As such, any alerts that you subscribed to prior to that date are no longer valid, and have been deleted. If you would like to receive sweep alerts for the remainder of 2015, please resubscribe."

The website is here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Jake La Botz Returns To The Tattoo Factory

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Alright!  Bluesman Jake La Botz is returning to a familiar venue next month:  The Tattoo Factory. Come see and hear him perform on his Tattoo Across America tour.  He'll be hitting Uptown on Saturday, June 27th, at 9pm.

The Tattoo Factory is located at 4441 North Broadway, right next to Drink & Ink.  Stop by for some music, some suds, and/or some new ink.  More info is here, and Jake's Facebook page is here.

Chase Park Community Forum Tonight

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Parks Summer Schedule: Movies, Performances, Kids' Activities

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The City has released its Nights Out in the Parks schedule for 2015, with more than 1000 events taking place all over the city between May and October.  You can see the citywide schedule here, and download the app for it at Google Play and the App Store.

This is what's going on in and around Uptown.  Unless otherwise noted, all events are open to the public at no cost.

Movies In The Park
  • Space Jam
    Thursday, June 4, 8:30pm
    Broncho Billy Playlot Park, 4437 N Magnolia, (312) 742-7802
  • Annie (2014 version)
    Thursday, June 11, 8:30pm
    Margate Park Fieldhouse, 4921 N Marine, (312) 742-7522
  • Footloose
    Thursday, June 25, 8:30pm
    Chase Park, 4701 N Ashland, (312) 742-7518
  • Strange Magic
    Thursday, July 2, 8:30pm
    Broncho Billy Playlot Park, 4437 N Magnolia, (312) 742-7802
  • The Goonies
    Friday, July 17, 8:30pm
    Clarendon Park Community Center, 4501 N Clarendon, (312) 742-7512
  • Frozen
    Saturday, July 18, 8:30pm
    Buttercup Playlot Park, 4901 N Sheridan, (312) 742-7522
  • Sixteen Candles
    Thursday, July 23, 8pm
    Chase Park, 4701 N Ashland, (312) 742-7518
  • The Princess and the Frog
    Thursday, August 6, 8:30pm
    Broncho Billy Playlot Park, 4437 N Magnolia, (312) 742-7802
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
    Tuesday, August 25, 8pm
    Margate Park Fieldhouse, 4921 N Marine, (312) 742-7522
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
    Thursday, August 27, 8pm
    Chase Park, 4701 N Ashland, (312) 742-7518
Entertainment & Performances
  • Circus Fun with CircEsteem
    5pm-7pm on Thursdays: June 25; July 9; July 23; August 6
    Buttercup Playlot Park, 4901 N Sheridan, (312) 742-7522
    Uptown's own CircEsteem offers free interactive circus workshops for the kids and families at Buttercup Park. CircEsteem's youth performance troupe will teach others how to spin a plate, juggle, and walk on a tightwire. Everyone is welcome.
  • CWCMC Youth Motown Review
    Friday, July 24, 6:30pm-8:30pm
    Chase Park, 4701 N Ashland, (312) 742-7518
    CWCMC Youth Performing Ensemble will present: "A Motown Review—Dancing in the Street." The Ensemble youth will sing, play instruments and dance to Motown songs and tell the story of Motown Records.
  • 15 Breaths
    Thursday, August 6 & Friday, August 7, 6:30pm-7:30pm
    Chase Park, 4701 N Ashland, (312) 742-7518
    In this original production by the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble, we explore connection and disconnection across generations within the Queer community. Through in-depth interviews with community members and AFYT alumni, 15 Breaths sets out to answer the questions: What are we fighting for? What did others fight for before us? And how can we bridge the gap? Suggested for ages 14 and up.
  • Chicago Symphonic Winds
    Saturday, August 8, 2pm-3pm
    Clarendon Park Community Center, 4501 N Clarendon, (312) 742-7512
    Chicago Symphonic Winds performs a concert of entertaining wind music that spans the history of the medium. Following the performance, CSW invites audience members to meet the musicians and learn more about the instruments with up close and hands-on opportunities.
  • Party in the Park
    Saturday, August 15, 1pm-4pm
    Chase Park, 4701 N Ashland, (312) 742-7518
    Stop by the park for an end of summer party!  Join us for an afternoon of family fun. Music, arts & crafts, and face painting.
  • Circus in the Parks
    Saturday, September 26:  performances at 2pm & 5pm
    Sunday, September 27:  performances at 2pm & 5pm
    Margate Park Fieldhouse, 4921 N Marine, (312) 742-7522
    Midnight Circus presents a true "Big Top" tent extravaganza. Celebrating community and rebuilding parks, one circus at a time.  Fee: $15.00.  Tickets available for purchase at the tent or in advance by visiting
Kids and Teen Programs
  • Urban Gateways at Gill
    Tuesday, June 16, 4pm-6pm
    Gill Park, 825 W Sheridan, (312) 742-7802
    Our good friends at Urban Gateways offer up a fun, interactive workshop for ages 6 - 12. Rhythms from around the world will delight registered members of the Gill Park Park Kids after school program.
  • Craftmobile at Broncho Billy
    3pm-4pm on Wednesdays: July 1; July 8; July 15; July 22; July 29; August 5
    Broncho Billy Playlot Park, 4437 N Magnolia, (312) 742-7802
    Kids get crafty in the parks by making amazing yet simple projects.  Join us for art projects, suitable for ages 4 - 10.
  • Teen Night Out at Chase
    July 31, 6pm-9pm
    Chase Park, 4701 N Ashland, (312) 742-7518
    We have a great evening planned just for teens. Gather your friends and swing by the park for Teen Night Out. Each event was designed by local park teen input. Age Range: At least 13 but less than 18.

Breakfast "On The Table" Tomorrow Morning

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THE CHANGING FACE OF UPTOWN.  Mercy Housing Lakefront and ONE Northside bring Uptown neighbors together for a free breakfast as part of Chicago Community Trust’s “On the Table

Residents, businesses, nonprofits and government discuss everyday challenges and successes in Uptown. Topics will touch on race, wealth, social status, gentrification, affordable housing, transitional housing, economic stability and rising costs. The gathering is part of the Chicago Community Trust’s “On the Table” centennial celebration.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

  • Alderman James Cappleman (46th Ward)
  • Alderman Harry Osterman (48th Ward) 
  • Mark Angelini, President, Mercy Housing Lakefront 
  • Keith McCormick, Executive Director at Business Partners, Uptown Chamber of Commerce
  • Residents from Harold Washington Apartments (SRO)
WHERE: Harold Washington Apartments, 4946 N. Sheridan (corner of Sheridan and Argyle)

Mercy Housing Lakefront is a non-profit affordable housing organization providing innovative housing solutions in response to community needs. We employ development, finance and construction expertise to bring people and properties together in a way that strengthens both.

Peeved At The Post Office?

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A month ago, when many people on UU's Facebook page, chimed in about the horrible service at the 60640 Post Office, Channel 2's Pam Zekman's producer asked people to contact him for a possible report.

Today he posted:  "Last chance... if anybody is having serious mail delivery issues in the Uptown area and is willing to talk on camera about it please send a message to my inbox... i am a producer at CBS 2 News looking into this possible story... Thanks."

If you would like to contact him, do so at his Facebook page and leave a message.  Click on the "message" button.  Even if you get a notice saying it is going into his "other" in-box, be assured that he knows to check there.  Be proactive, it's better than seething in silence.

Come Out And Meet Your Neighbors On Friday, May 22


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mid-Century And Mad Men At Vintage Garage Sunday

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Vintage Garage had its biggest day ever last month, and now it's back in May with more dealers, more fun.

"With Mid-Century Modern as the focus for May 17th Vintage Garage Chicago, our dealers are ready!  Mid-Century Modern furniture decor galore, along with vintage from all eras. Vintage clothing, jewelry, furniture and more. Our dealer count is the largest in Vintage Garage history!  If you are looking for unique goods you won't want to miss it.  This month we'll have options for delivery for shoppers, keep an eye out.

WGN did an amazing spot on the show in April; if you missed it or haven't been to the show yet, you can see it by clicking here.

Sunday night is the series finale of Mad Mad on AMC, which makes our Mid-Century show a fitting tribute.  We are looking forward to seeing great Mid-Century outfits all day and will give away season passes for winning outfits!"

Vintage Garage takes place at 5051 North Broadway on the third Sunday of each month between April and October.  It opens at 10am and runs until 5pm, with $5 admission.  For more info and pro tips, click here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Jay Michael Becomes "A Warrior"

Jay Michael of FLATS revealed publicly this week that he's battling cancer.  A few months ago, he started feeling weak, and was ultimately diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's diffuse large B cell lymphoma.  Jay talks about his diagnosis, prognosis, and hope in an article in Splash Chicago called "MY CHOICE TO LIVE: PART I."  He'll continue to document his battle in subsequent articles, and ends this one by saying
"This is the beginning of my story. My story to take a stage 4 cancer diagnosis and unravel it into my license to live. In fact, to live an even better and richer life than I ever could have imagined possible before cancer. Follow my story through what will be a battle of all battles — but one that will leave me with the final blessing of a beautiful life."
We wish him the best; if determination and sheer stubbornness can beat cancer, our money's on Jay. Cedar Street, of which FLATS is a division, will go on while Jay fights the most personal of battles. While he's the public face and co-founder of the company, he has partners, a board of directors, and about 100 employees headquartered at Sunnyside and Broadway. We are sure their thoughts and good wishes are with Jay as he becomes, in his words, "a newly appointed Warrior against stage 4 cancer."

Join The Citywide Day of Service At Brennemann School

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The City is sponsoring a citizen-involved Day of Service on Saturday.  In Uptown, the projects are to help build a community garden in Clarendon Park (see here) and to help tidy up Brennemann School, 4251 North Clarendon. If you'd like to join the volunteers at Brennemann, the project will run between 7:30am-11am. Interested? Sign up here or contact Raffaele or Larry at 773-216-3039 or 773-490-4863.

Help Grow A Community Garden At Clarendon Park

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Your help is needed to build new community garden plots at Clarendon Park this Saturday morning. Come on over and get your hands dirty!


WHERE?  CLARENDON PARK!  4501 N. CLARENDON AVE. (Clarendon and Sunnyside)

WHEN?  SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2015  8 AM–1 PM

Contact Clarendon Park Gardens with questions:, or stop by the park office for the phone number.

Funding for this project is provided by 46th Ward Menu Funds.

This Train's Got The Disappearing Railroad Blues*

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Take a last look:  The last piece of the old North Shore Line train viaduct over Broadway -- the one in front of ACE Hardware, and over the vehicle turn lane onto southbound Clifton -- will be demolished next week. ACE will be open on Monday, but closed Tuesday through Friday. Please read the notice below for more details about the closures.

There are photos of the last remaining section of the viaduct below the notice. CTA workers have been demolishing the tracks west of the Wilson Station for the past few weeks, and they're already gone over Wilson and most of Broadway.  The tracks did their job for nearly a century, but we're glad to see them make way for something more modern and less intrusive.  We can't wait to see Broadway in a couple years, with no support columns in it at all.

Looking North

Looking Southwest
* Thanks to Chicago native Steve Goodman for coming up with the perfect phrase from City of New Orleans.

Let There Be Light

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The intersection of Broadway and Leland is so much brighter and more open with the first set of overhead tracks and support pillars mostly demolished (and the rest to come down next week). Compare and contrast.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

October 2014 (via Google Streetview)
Thursday, May 14, 2015

October 2014 (via Google Streetview)

Join An "On The Table" Discussion Next Tuesday

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For more about the On The Table program, created by the Chicago Community Trust, check out the website here.

Animals, Filmed In Uptown, To Show At Gene Siskel Theater

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A year and a half ago, the indie film Animals was filmed in and around Uptown, written by and starring former Uptowner David Dastmalchian. His thank-you note to those in Uptown who helped the production is here.

After playing at the SXSW Festival and receiving a Special Jury Prize for Courage, the film is now screening in cities across the U.S. and on Video on Demand.  It will premier next Friday at the Gene Siskel Theater in Chicago. The New York Times has a review of it here, and an interview with David here.

The movie's website is here.  If you'd like to see the film, you can buy advance tickets through it. David and director Collin Schiffli will take part in a discussion following Friday's showing.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Party In the Parks (Margate & Clarendon) On Sunday For Summer Kick-Off

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Night Out in the Parks Kick-Off Events

Community Gathering
with Chalk Art, Picnic, and Community Baseball

Clarendon Park, 4501 N. Clarendon
Sunday, May 17th

11:30am - 1:30pm

Community Crafting with Ms. Misty

Margate Park,
4921 North Marine
Sunday, May 17th

11:15am - 1:15pm

CTA Red/Purple Line Meeting Tonight About Massive Track & Station Rebuild

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A reminder that CTA is holding a public open house tonight to talk about its next massive Uptown/Edgewater transit project.

In case you haven't heard -- much will be happening north of Wilson once the $200 million track and station project is finished there in late 2017.  CTA is now looking at the next three years to rebuild the tracks and stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Bryn Mawr and Berwyn. Imagine, actual Uptown and Edgewater stations that are new, clean, and accessible to the handicapped.  Pinch me, I'm dreaming!

The track and stations are nearly 100 years old along this part of the route and CTA says, delicately, it is "at the end of its useful lifespan."  The Red and Purple Lines are the most used in the CTA system, and CTA says that 185,000 new residents are projected to move into the ridership area by 2040.  Read its statement here.

Just like Wilson, because there are federal and state dollars -- and lots of them -- flowing into the project, it's going to be a couple years of meetings, RFPs, bid contracts, public feedback, etc., etc. All the red tape that comes with getting a few hundred million into the CTA's coffers. But CTA projects it can begin in 2017 or 2018, which will lead to new and improved CTA infrastructure in Uptown that will last the lifetimes of our kids and grandkids.

You can read the Tribune article about it here.  A CTA handout explaining the entire project is here.

And show up tonight to the open house to talk to CTA representatives directly.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Chase Park Announces Its Summer Entertainment Schedule

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Nothing official from Chicago's citywide "Movies In The Parks" yet about the 2015 schedule, but Chase Park, 4701 North Ashland, will be having movies, concerts and parties.  Here's the schedule, as announced today by CPAC:
  • Movies in the Park: Back to the 80's!  Take a step back in time with these fun movie selections from the 80's! Bring a blanket and a picnic, or grab a snack from the CPAC concession stand (all purchases fund park improvements). All movies start at dusk, but come by early for some pre-film fun for the family!
  • Footloose, Thursday, June 25. A city teenager moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace.
  • 16 Candles, Thursday, July 23. A young girl's "sweet sixteenth" birthday becomes anything but special as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Thursday, August 27. Two seemingly dumb teens struggle to prepare a historical presentation with the help of a time machine.
  • Family Concerts.  Enjoy these fun, free evenings of music at Chase Park and some of our satellite playlots featuring local musical artists. Family friendly!
  • Filbert Playlot: June 22nd, 5:45pm
  • Zatterberg Playlot: June 29th, 5:45pm
  • Chase Park: July 24th, 6:30pm
  • Teen Night Out in the Park, July 31st, 6:00pm. This evening will be filled with fun and constructive activities for Chase Park's fantastic teen community
  • About Face Theater Presents: 15 Breaths, August 6th & 7th, 6:30pm.  About Face Theater creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country, and around the world. More information on this production coming soon!
  • Party in the Park, August 15th, 1:00-4:00pm. Give summer one last Hurrah at this family fun festival at Chase Park. This free event will feature face-painting, arts & crafts, music, and lots of other great activities.

CAPS Beat 1914 Tonight At 7PM

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From Amy, the co-facilitator for CAPS Beat 1914 (the area bordered by Lawrence, Broadway, Montrose and the lake):

"Hi neighbors:

Please join your neighbors, local businesses, community representatives, and neighborhood police officers tonight for our monthly CAPS meeting.

7pm tonight at the Clarendon Park Fieldhouse (Clarendon and Sunnyside).

Looking forward to seeing you there."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tracks Come Down, Ghost Sign Appears

With the demolition of the concrete structure that carried the L tracks over Wilson, comes an unexpected surprise: a ghost sign that has not seen the light of day for years. Standing on the northern-most part of the Wilson platform looking west, the sign is visible. The top photo shows the beginning of the sign that reads "HO" and further along reads "FORWARDED TO ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD."

Anyone care to guess what this advertised and how long this sign has remained hidden?

Update:  Thank you to commenter Spillman, who says, "According to a 1920 Exporter's Directory, the warehouse to the north on Clifton was once the Chicago branch of the Anglo-American Lift Van Company, based in New York. They specialized in "Household Goods, works of art and furniture in lift vans between the United States and Europe." You can see the word London vertically below the first letter of the sign."

A Corner Ripe For Transit-Oriented Development?

The infamous strip mall on the SE corner of Broadway & Wilson

Well, well, well. Now that the Wilson L renovation is underway, the strip mall just across from the station is now showing "available" by Shai Town Realty Group. Coincidence? Who knows.
The large, triangle-shaped parcel would be a prime piece of land for a developer looking to build a transit-oriented development.

Speaking of TOD, news today comes of the state senate passing a bill that would allow city council to create new transit-oriented TIF districts. Keep an eye on this corner. Things are likely to get hoppin' soon!

UU Note: Interested parties can reach Shai Town Realty at 312-276-5177 or email at

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Broadway Opens Early

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CTA finished demolishing the bridge over Broadway early. The street is open, the bridge is mostly gone, and the rubble is picked up. Last night Ald. Cappleman tweeted this photo and wrote: "Beyond amazing to see the old tracks come down. Eventually, no supports for the L will be touching the street." We'll have to wait for sunshine to see how much brighter and less shadowy Broadway is with the heavy concrete overpass gone forever.