Axios Chicago

Picture of the Chicago skyline.

🦁 Happy Friday! On this day in 1922, the Chicago Zoological society broke ground on what would become the Brookfield Zoo.

  • Today's weather: Still rainy, with a high of 73Β°. Watch out for a cold front coming through tonight.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Chicago member Rainey Wagner!

Today's newsletter is 905 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Longtime politico Marilyn Katz dies

Photo of a man and woman posing for the camera

Marilyn Katz during a 2017 interview with Justin Kaufmann at the Tribune Tower. Photo: Courtesy of WGN Radio

Writer, activist, and political consultant Marilyn Katz died yesterday morning, ABC 7 reports. She was 78.

The big picture: Katz played a significant role in Chicago politics, organizing historic protests and helping Harold Washington become mayor. She continued to work as political consultant right up until her death.

  • "Marilyn 'made good trouble,' and reveled in it," ABC 7 commentator Laura Washington, who worked in Mayor Washington's administration, tells Axios.
  • "Marilyn was a fierce force, a non-stop political locomotive who drove countless causes in Chicago, and well beyond."

Context: Katz began her political career in Chicago in 1966 as part of the Chicago Freedom Movement. As a college student, she joined Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his historic march in Marquette Park, where counter-protesters threw rocks and fireworks at the marchers.

  • After that, she helped organize protests during the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and was part of the media team for Washington on his 1983 campaign.

What she said: "People always talk about misery creating dissent and change," Katz told Justin on his WGN radio show in 2017. "That's not true. It's the possibility of something better, real change that propels people into action."

Zoom in: The Washington campaign started what was a fruitful political campaign career, working with Mayor Richard M. Daley and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, as well as several down-ballot candidates.

Katz never let go of her activism, helping organize women's marches in Chicago after President Trump's inauguration in 2017.

What they're saying: "Every mayor had a relationship with Marilyn," Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) tells Axios. "She was just a wonderful person."

2. ✍️ Chart of the day: ACT scores way up

Data: ACT. Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: ACT. Chart: Axios Visuals

Illinois high school students have on average scored several points higher on the ACT over the last decade.

Yes, but: The number of students taking the test has dramatically decreased over the same period now that Illinois schools are no longer mandated to administer it.

  • In 2014, 100% of graduating students took the ACT. In 2023, only 14%.

3. πŸ† Chicago's best anchor: Carol Marin

Carol Marin speaks onstage at the 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony in 2016. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Peabody Awards

Take a bow, Carol Marin! More than 1,300 readers gave Marin a definitive win (61%) over Bill Kurtis as the greatest Chicago news anchor of all time.

The bottom line: We didn't need a bracket to know Marin is the best, but this just proves it.

Chart: Axios Visuals
Chart: Axios Visuals

Look out for another tournament celebrating Chicago bests next month!

4. Best last-minute Chicago costumes

Illustration of the Chicago star carved into a pumpkin.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

We've all been there. You had big Halloween costume ideas back in June, but now it's Oct. 27, there's a party tomorrow and Goodwill is all picked over.

Don't worry. We've got ideas for some easy, but very Chicago costumes for all you procrastinators.

Why it matters: Our city is rich in history, tradition, folklore and humor β€” show it off!

Bears lost

  • Grab a friend, put on bear costumes, carry a compass and look confused.
Photo of a man dressed in a Bears suit
This is giving a little of "mean bear" but with a confused look on your face, it quickly becomes "Bears lost." Photo: Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Classic Sears portrait

  • Wear your favorite '80s sweater, poof up those bangs and make a crappy frame with a dark, unattractive background to put around your face.
This is actually a 1984 Olan Mills photo of Carrie and her siblings, but you get the idea. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

Lincoln Park Pirate

πŸ“« Reply with your ideas of great Chicago costumes!

More ideas

Stay booked and busy

πŸ“… Upcoming events around the city.

Whiskies of the World at Intercontinental Chicago on November 4:

  • Sip your way around the world with 100+ whiskies in Chicago.
  • Don't miss the nation's largest whiskey-tasting event Whiskies of the World. Sip over 100 all-inclusive whiskey expressions and other spirits, savor light gourmet bites, indulge in cigar pairings, and much more.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

5. Tips and hot links

Illustration of the Chicago flag with the stars changing into the words "Tips and Hot Links."

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ“š CPS is facing a $391 million budget shortfall next year as its pandemic funds dry up. The district is expecting to spend the last $300 million of the $2.8 billion it received from the federal government. (Chalkbeat)

πŸ’ƒπŸ½ Hampshire High School will reverse course and let students perform "The Prom" as the spring musical. Last week, the superintendent told students the show would be postponed, pointing to worries over harassment and bullying targeting LGBTQ+ students. (Daily Herald)

πŸͺ§ Part-time faculty at Columbia College could strike as soon as Monday if they don't reach an agreement on their contract with the school. (WBEZ)

6. Best Day Ever: Food adventurer Dennis Lee

Photo of a chef working in a kitchen

Dennis Lee and wife Davida Marthenze cook together. Photo: Courtesy of Clayton Hauck

When The Takeout writer Dennis Lee isn't sharing his fascinating and hilarious culinary wanderings around town, he's occasionally clocking in as a pizza maker at Paulie Gee's in Logan Square.

What's happening: In honor of National Pizza Month, we asked Lee, the author of the Food Is Stupid and The Party Cut newsletters, to share his Best Day Ever in the city.

β˜•οΈ Breakfast: My wife and I would start the day at our local coffee shop, Moonwalker Cafe, maybe one of the cutest places in all of Chicago.

  • And we'd play Wordle over coffee.

πŸ›’ Morning activity: Take a long walk in a different neighborhood and imagine what it'd be like to live there, or visit a giant grocery store like Fresh Farms in Niles, to browse through food we've never seen before.

πŸ₯™ Lunch: Ragadan for Oklahoma burgers, falafel, hummus, and this wonderfully tart labneh egg salad on crisp ka'ak bread, which is crackly and studded with sesame seeds.

Read for more, including Lee's top picks for all kinds of Chicago pizza

7. 🍺 Taste Test: Goose Island x The Chicago Bulls

The new Bull & Goose beer. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

πŸ‘‹ Hi, it's Justin!

There's nothing worse than going to the United Center and drinking tasteless beers that cost more than a 12-pack from the grocery store.

What's happening: The Bulls heard you. This year, they have partnered with Goose Island to create a new beer they say "embodies the spirit of Chicago."

  • So…Old Style? 🀣

Details: Bull & Goose is a light beer they're calling "West Side Ale." It'll run you $10.75 at the stadium.

Four-word review: Tasty, but still pricey.

Full review

8. β›± 1 photo to go: Sunbathing skeletons

Photo of skeletons on lawn
Photo: Courtesy of Amy C.

Amy C. shared her son's work in La Grange, titled: "Life's a beach and then you die!"

πŸ“« Hit reply to share your favorite Halloween decorations.

Edited by Alexa Mencia and copy edited by Patricia Guadalupe and Keely Bastow.

Our picks:

πŸŽƒ Carrie is blown away by some of the stats in this City Cast Chicago episode about Illinois' dominance in the pumpkin world!

πŸ“Ί Monica is finally starting to watch "Reservation Dogs" and she's getting pretty hungry for Flaming Flamers.

🎀 Justin is excited to check out the new Taylor Swift album today. Again.

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