WBEZ | honorary street signs http://www.wbez.org/tags/honorary-street-signs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Honorary Streets or Real Streets? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/honorary-streets-or-real-streets-105393 <p><p>If you listened to &ldquo;The Afternoon Shift&rdquo; yesterday, you know we talked about honorary streets. At last count Chicago had about 1400 of them. Dedicating an honorary street is a convenient way for politicians to keep voters happy, with little effort.</p><p>And yet . . . are there so many honorary streets that the gesture has become meaningless? I&rsquo;m reminded of a friend who was thrilled to receive a flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol. Only later did he learn the secret.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-7--Honorary%20Streets.JPG" title="Honoring Our Lady of Victory deacons" /></div><p><u>(SPOILER ALERT--YOU MAY WISH TO SKIP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH!)</u></p><p>The Capitol has a special flagpole, on which flags are raised for a few seconds, then lowered. So each day, that results in hundreds of different flags that have been flown over the U.S. Capitol&mdash;technically.</p><p>But back to Chicago street names. Before the honorary street system caught on, the city sometimes changed actual street names. I do know at least four existing streets whose names were changed in 1979:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-7--Bosak%20Ave%20%282012%29.JPG" title="Bosak Avenue" /></div><p>Bosak Avenue (10200 S. from 2434 W to 2444 W). Named for police officer William Bosak, killed in the line of duty in 1979.</p><p>Van Schaik Avenue (10400 S from 2648 W to 2718 W). Named for police officer Roger Van Schaik, killed in the line of duty in the same incident, 1979.</p><p>Stevens Avenue (4028 W-6000 N to 4000 W-6030 N). Named for George Stevens, founder of a manufacturing company on this block.</p><p>Pope John Paul II Drive (4300 S from 2400 W to 3158 W). Named for the pope who visited a parish on this street.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-7--Van%20Schaik%20Ave%20%282013%29_0.JPG" title="Van Schaik Avenue" /></div></div><p>Then came the flap about renaming Evergreen Avenue as Algren Street, which I&rsquo;ve written about. Since then the city has tried to avoid changing existing street names.</p><p>Every so often, Chicago does add new streets, and has to come up with new street names. Some years ago, there was even a new street laid out in Streeterville called&mdash;wait for it&mdash;New Street. Perhaps all the good names&nbsp;had already been&nbsp;used for honorary streets.</p><p>President Obama will probably have a real street renamed for him when he leaves office. As for the rest of us, if we want to get a real green sign instead of an honorary brown one, we&rsquo;d better make friends with a developer.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-7--Stevens%20Ave%20%282012%29.JPG" title="Stevens Avenue" /></div><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 07 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/honorary-streets-or-real-streets-105393 Ain't that good news? Singer Sam Cooke gets street renamed in his honor http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-06-17/aint-good-news-singer-sam-cooke-gets-street-renamed-his-honor-87997 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-17/Cooke_in_studio.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/E6kzP5dHuZI" width="480" frameborder="0" height="390"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Watch the above clip of Sam Cooke singing his 1957 hit <em>You Send Me </em>on <em>American Bandstand</em>.</p><p>He's cool. Confident. Assured. "A lil' bit sexy," a female friend emailed me when I sent her this clip. And most certainly a star on the rise.</p><p>Cooke was shot to death in an Los Angeles motel at the height of his fame in 1964 under circumstances that still baffle. But his music continues to resonate nearly a half century later.</p><p>Cat Stevens, Luther Vandross, The Pretenders and countless others have remade or referenced Cooke songs over the past 40 years. Cooke songs have turned up in 20 different movies and television shows over the past two decades, according to Internet Movie Database.</p><p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl3lx3xfhtI&amp;playnext=1&amp;list=PL5817EAAA7F8F32F9"><em>Twisting the Night Away</em></a> was featured in that awful <em>Green Hornet</em> movie earlier this year. They played <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v09Rc2AAQPs"><em>Shake</em></a> in an episode of HBO's<em> The Wire</em>. And I still get the chills when Cooke's <em>A Change is Gonna Come</em> is played in a pivotal scene toward the end of <em>Malcolm X</em>. (It begins at 2:34 <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M23exYfGBl8">in this clip</a>.)</p><p>Sam Cooke's latest honor comes Saturday at 2pm when a stretch of 36th Street in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood will be renamed <em>Sam Cooke Way</em>, marking the place where the late, great soul singer spent his formative years. The renamed section begins at Cottage Grove and runs east, passing the site at 36th and Ellis where Cooke's boyhood home once stood.</p><p>Cooke's great-nephew Erik Greene spent four years advocating for the honorary street renaming. Greene is also the writer of a Cooke biography called <em><a href="http://www.ourunclesam.com/">Our Uncle Sam</a></em>. I asked him a few questions about Cooke and his legacy.</p><p>Q: Why is this honorary street important?</p><p><strong>A: I was born and raised in <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_2">Chicago</span> but never had an appreciation for the rich&nbsp;musical history of Bronzeville until I researched its history for what would eventually become&nbsp;<em><u>Our <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_3" style="border-bottom: 2px dotted rgb(54, 99, 136); cursor: pointer;">Uncle Sam.</span></u></em> It was then I learned Bronzeville was home to not just Sam, but&nbsp;<span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_4">Nat King Cole</span>, <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_5" style="cursor: pointer; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent;">Dinah Washington</span>, <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_6">Lou Rawls</span>, and a host of&nbsp;other musical greats. Sam had already been recognized on the Bronzeville <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_7" style="border-bottom: 2px dotted rgb(54, 99, 136); cursor: pointer;">Walk of Fame</span>, but&nbsp;his exclusion on a 35th and State Street mural commemorating famous Bronzeville residents&nbsp;gave&nbsp;me the impetus to&nbsp;make&nbsp;his street naming--a more permanent&nbsp;form of recognition--a reality.</strong></p><p>Q: His music is still appreciated, isn't it? Even my teenage daughters and a couple of their friends are fans.</p><p><strong>A: Good music is eternal and has the ability to transcend all age barriers. Sam adopted a simple, straight-forward songwriting&nbsp;style, and he wrote songs the common man could relate to.&nbsp;As a result, his music is timeless--easily appreciated and&nbsp;understood&nbsp;by all ages and&nbsp;generations. This type of pure simplicity is a long-lost art form.</strong></p><p>Q: What will tomorrow's street-renaming ceremony look like?</p><p><strong>A:<em> </em>Sam's street naming ceremony&nbsp;will consist of recognizing Sam's legacy and the importance of this particular street by&nbsp;myself, my cousin Eugene Jamison who will speak on behalf of the Cook&nbsp;family, Bronzeville political representatives, and&nbsp;Gregg Parker, CEO of the<a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/entertainment&amp;id=7683801"> Chicago Blues Museum</a>. I formally met Gregg after the street naming had been approved&nbsp;by the&nbsp;<span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_8" style="border-bottom: 2px dotted rgb(54, 99, 136); cursor: pointer;">Chicago City Council</span>, and his musical&nbsp;interest in&nbsp;Sam and the Bronzeville&nbsp;neighborhood fueled the event to its current prominence.&nbsp;A City of Chicago proclamation will be read, and local&nbsp;celebrities may be on the program as well.</strong></p><p>Q: One last question. For decades there has been talk of a Sam Cooke movie. If one were made, who'd play Sam?</p><p><strong>A:</strong> <strong>Ever since Sam's death, talk of a movie based on his life has heated up&nbsp;on several occasions only to fizzle out and go nowhere, and&nbsp;"Who&nbsp;should play <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_9" style="border-bottom: 2px dotted rgb(54, 99, 136); cursor: pointer;">Sam Cooke</span>?" is&nbsp;an age-old question that's been&nbsp;kicked around by&nbsp;Sam Cooke fans&nbsp;for generations.&nbsp;In the early 70s, talk of <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_10">Marvin&nbsp;Gaye</span>&nbsp;portraying Sam was squashed when&nbsp;Gaye declared himself not worthy of the honor.&nbsp;Actors from <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_11" style="cursor: pointer; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent;">Blair Underwood</span> to <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_12" style="cursor: pointer; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent;">Denzel Washington</span> to <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1308320409_13">Will Smith</span> have been discussed more recently, but because Sam died at&nbsp;33,&nbsp;these actors have invariably grown too old.&nbsp;Having been fooled by the several false-starts over the years, I've stopped speculating as to who could play Sam on the silver screen, but still smile at some of the suggestions.</strong></p><p>And before we go, dig this: Sam Cooke singing Bob Dylan's <em>Blowing in the Wind.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/PBDdLgBO0Nw" width="480" frameborder="0" height="390"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 17 Jun 2011 13:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-06-17/aint-good-news-singer-sam-cooke-gets-street-renamed-his-honor-87997