April 17, 2023
Happy Monday! Today is National Cheeseball Day. So, go get one! It could be the nutritious breakfast you need to get this week started.
- Today's weather: Snow likely, with a high near 40°. (Yes, it is mid-April.)
Today's newsletter is 946 words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: Teen mobs take over weekend
Hundreds of teens took over Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park this past weekend, with videos showing crowds stomping and dancing on parked cars downtown.
- Two teens were shot in the Loop on Saturday night. They're both in fair condition at nearby Northwestern Hospital. Police are investigating. No one is in custody in connection with the shooting, as of late Sunday.
Why it matters: Violent crime rates typically rise during the warmer months, and Chicago's first warm weekend brought the same chaos that led Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police to institute a curfew downtown last year.
- With city and police leadership in transition, Chicagoans are looking for answers, and some are calling for increased patrols.
Context: The curfew prohibits teenagers from gathering in Millennium Park after 6pm, Thursday-Sunday. There's also a citywide curfew after 10pm.
Yes, but: The curfew didn't deter large groups from gathering downtown over the weekend. Fifteen people, including six juveniles, were arrested, police said. Most arrests were for reckless conduct, ABC7 reports.
Details: Videos show groups attacking cars driving through the Loop on Saturday. CTA service, meanwhile, was disrupted by the melee.
- Police had to escort people trying to access their cars in nearby parking lots.
- On Friday night, a 14-year-old was shot near a large gathering at 31st Street Beach, sending crowds running. A 17-year-old was arrested in connection with the shooting, according to police.
Zoom out: Downtown crime and high-profile gatherings were a focus of the recent mayoral campaign, and downtown residents and activists gathered yesterday to demand more patrols, according to the Sun-Times.
What they're saying: "In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city," Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said in a statement.
- "However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities."
What we're watching: Lightfoot said in a statement that police leaders have promised to "make the necessary adjustments to address these teen trends issues as we move into the summer months."
2. Stat of the day: Office spaces
Our job market is changing, and per a new report, Chicago has a lot of office space available.
What's happening: U.S. office space available for lease has hit an all-time high, Axios' Emily Peck writes.
Details: Examining office availability is different from examining office vacancy rates.
- Availability includes not just empty offices, but also occupied office space where the tenant won't be renewing.
3. Tips and hot links
🪧Chicago State University staff have reached a tentative agreement with the administration, ending the week-long strike. (ABC 7)
👩⚖️ The "ComEd Four" trial has shifted to the defense phase, with former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore returning to the stand today. (Tribune)
🚈 O'Hare airport's "people mover" broke down for hours yesterday, stranding passengers. (NBC 5)
🦁 Get to know Pesho, Sidai And Lomelok, the new lion cubs at Lincoln Park Zoo. (Block Club)
4. Artists to honor Lin Brehmer
Legendary Chicago DJ Lin Brehmer died in January, but his influence endures in many ways, including shows this week by artists Tony Fitzpatrick and Jon Langford at The Hideout.
The backstory: Years ago, Fitzpatrick recalls, he quoted a line from Wallace Stevens' "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" to Brehmer, who then recited the rest of the poem by heart.
- Fitzpatrick confided to Brehmer that he'd long tried to write an answer to Stevens' existential verse, and in their conversation that night, "Lin gave me the key to writing that answer," he tells Axios.
What's happening: Fitzpatrick and Langford are presenting a song cycle based on that answer poem, called "Cinderella Blackbird," as a tribute to Brehmer at The Hideout this week.
- The three shows sold out almost immediately, but for those of you who won't be attending, here's a taste.
The show: Poetry and songs based on the poem, but also stories about Brehmer, "because the poem isn't about Lin per se, it's because of Lin," Fitzpatrick says.
- "It's kind of a meditation on the city he, Langford and I love, a city Lin's voice hovered over every single day for a very long time."
Fitzpatrick sent Axios a working copy of "Cinderella Blackbird," which we've excerpted:
Over Logan Square
night is another country
of proven poisons
and lost keys,
to be searched for
What's more: The show will feature projections of artwork by both Langford and Fitzpatrick, including Fitzpatrick's "Cinderella Blackbird" collage drawings.
New jobs to check out
5. Bite Club: "Puppy chow" cake at Daisies
Many have long known and loved Daisies in Logan Square for chef Joe Frillman's breathtaking pastas and veggie-forward dishes, as well as local groceries during the pandemic.
- But the place keeps evolving, this time with a larger location on Milwaukee Avenue that includes a new daytime cafe with pastries by chef Leigh Omilinsky.
The bite: On a recent visit, we zeroed in on a dark chocolate torte topped with the Midwestern delicacy of house-made "puppy chow" ($6).
- For those who don't know, that's usually a mix of Rice Chex, chocolate chips, peanut butter and powdered sugar.
The backstory: During our visit, chef Omilinsky said the kitchen approaches the whole menu as if the Midwest was a region of Italy. Staff want to highlight that culture in big and small ways.
- So her sour cream chocolate cake features a fudge frosting, hazelnut mousse and "puppy chow" made with sunflower butter.
The verdict: This cake is worth it just for the deep chocolate and fudge layers, but the hazelnut mousse and childhood crunch of "puppy chow" elevate it to a Midwestern dream.
The rest: Don't miss vegan oatmeal cream pie, gooey butter cake, seasonal filled brioche and an ultra-moist olive oil cake "that took me years to perfect," Omilinsky says.
🏉 Monica is recovering from moms' weekend with her daughter's rugby team in Champaign-Urbana.
☹️ Justin can't believe that the Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs and Sox all missed the playoffs for the 2022-23 sports season. At least we have the Wolves and the Sky.
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