WBEZ | Culture http://www.wbez.org/news/culture Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Flamin' Hot Cheetos top some Chicago Public School vending machines http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/flamin-hot-cheetos-top-some-chicago-public-school-vending-machines-111773 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/cheetos.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last week Michigan became the latest state to opt out of the federal Smart Snack standards. The rules regulate what can be sold in school fundraisers and vending machines that help schools pay the bill. More than 22 states have pushed for some kind of exemption from these rules since they went into effect last July.</p><p>So just how stringent are they?</p><p>The snacks must be:</p><ul><li>&ldquo;whole grain rich&rdquo; if they are grain-based, meaning 50 percent whole grain</li><li>no more than 200 calories</li><li>no more than 230 mgs of sodium</li><li>no more than 35 percent sugar, by weight</li><li>lower in fat, meaning no more than a third of their calories can come from fat</li></ul><p>So all that&rsquo;s left is kale, right?</p><p>Well, not really. In fact, under these new rules, two of the top sellers in some Chicago Public Schools are reformulated Flamin&rsquo; Hot Cheetos and Kellogg&rsquo;s Pop Tarts. This is not exactly what Dr. Virginia Stallings envisioned when she chaired the Institute of Medicine committee whose recommendations would form the backbone of the Smart Snack rules.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I thought the top sellers might be things that had more nutrients in them than Flamin&rsquo; Hot Cheetos,&rdquo; said Stallings, who is a professor of pediatrics at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. &ldquo;But let me say that one of the things we were absolutely expecting and appreciate is that the food companies would look at these recommendations and they would, in fact, reformulate their products.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>To Stallings, the reformulated Cheetos, in smaller portions, with more whole grain, less sodium and less fat, represent an evidence-based improvement over the old formula.</p><p>But to folks like Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, a health analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists, the snacks represent&nbsp;&nbsp; mixed messages to kids.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think it says to them that, of course, I can eat these. And when they are outside the school, if they see the same item at a grocery store, they don&rsquo;t recognize the difference,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Even more concerning, is that their parents don&rsquo;t either, according to a Rudd Center study showing that many parents are misguided into thinking that these [reformulated] items are good for their kids.&rdquo;</p><p>To see this in action, all you have to do is drop by a Chicago Public high school vending machine where reformulated Pop Tarts and Flamin&rsquo; Hot Cheeto Puffs occupy several slots. In an interview with WBEZ Wednesday, CPS&rsquo;s head of Nutrition Services Leslie Fowler said she had no idea schools were selling the snacks.</p><p>The district, she said, has prohibited reformulated snacks for about a year. Still, a list of approved snacks that CPS provided to WBEZ on Wednesday includes Baked Cheetos and Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers. Another list the district sent to WBEZ earlier Wednesday included reduced fat Cool Ranch Doritos as an approved snack. But when WBEZ noted that snack was also &ldquo;reformulated,&rdquo; the CPS official claimed she&rsquo;d given us the wrong list.</p><p>To add to the confusion, Fowler told WBEZ Wednesday that the &ldquo;only Cheeto that is approved is the whole grain puff,&rdquo; which are not included on the latest list but are featured in several district machines.</p><p>Regardless of what CPS rules actually are, it&rsquo;s clear that the much maligned Smart Snack rules still leave plenty of room for things like reformulated Flamin Hot Cheetos. And while it&rsquo;s true the reformulation reduces fat and salt, the snacks still feature six artificial colors and nearly 30 ingredients.</p><p>New York University Nutrition professor Marion Nestle thinks part of the problem is that the rules encourage companies to hit certain nutrient numbers rather than providing real food.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br />&ldquo;This is a classic case of nutritionism,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;If you set up nutrition standards, the food industry can do anything to meet those standards and this is a perfect example of that...So this is a better-for-you junk food. And, of course, the question is: is that a good choice? And no, of course, it&rsquo;s not.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /><br />When asked to discuss the issue, Cheeto maker Frito Lay would not grant WBEZ an interview. Instead, the company wrote &ldquo;We offer a variety of Smart Snack compliant products in schools in portion-controlled sizes to suit a variety of tastes, including the Reduced Fat, Whole Grain Rich Flamin&#39; Hot Cheetos.&rdquo;</p><p>Lane Tech Senior Tyra Bosnic said she&rsquo;s disappointed in the vending machines at her school. She wished they better mirrored the machines she&rsquo;s seen in Europe.<br /><br />&ldquo;They have better drinks there and there&rsquo;s more water accessible,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;There they have things like pumpkin seeds in the machines. Here we just have gross, whole grain Pop Tarts and Cheeto Puffs.&rdquo;<br /><br />The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it couldn&rsquo;t comment on the wisdom of selling Cheetos at school, but that its latest rules have already helped kids eat &ldquo;healthier.&rdquo;<br /><br />It&rsquo;s not just kids who are drawn to the&nbsp; orange curly snacks. For cash strapped school administrators, Cheetos can&nbsp; deliver plenty of green. Under the current CPS deal with Avcoa Vending, schools&nbsp; get a 20 percent commission on all sales; and that can add up to more than $10,000 in discretionary spending a year. So, why not stock this teenage favorite?</p><p>&ldquo;Because schools have an obligation to teach children how to be successful adults,&rdquo; says Rochelle Davis of Chicago&rsquo;s Healthy Schools Campaign. &ldquo;And learning about how to be healthy is a critical part of that.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, one vending machine rep noted that kids are going to buy Cheetos at the corner store and that few entities need money more than schools. Stallings, who wrote the original recommendations, questions whether schools should be selling any snacks at all.</p><p>&ldquo;Selling food to children outside of the school lunch and breakfast should not be a source of revenue for the school,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s exploiting the children&rsquo;s health.&rdquo;</p><p>Instead, advocates like Rochelle Davis of Chicago&rsquo;s Healthy Schools Campaign suggest raising the revenue through things like plant sales and dance-a-thons.</p><p>&ldquo;I just got an email about a school trying a dance-a-thon,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So the kids are going to be up and moving and the community is going to be supporting that instead of a traditional fundraiser.&rdquo;</p><p>But can a dance-a-thon rake in the cash like Flamin&rsquo; Hot Cheetos? With all the resistance against even these initial rules, it may be some time before we get to find out.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Clarification, 3/26/2015: After this story was published Chicago Public Schools officials claimed CPS uses vendors other than Avcoa. They have not yet responded who those vendors are.</em></p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/flamin-hot-cheetos-top-some-chicago-public-school-vending-machines-111773 Can embracing March Madness make your office more productive? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/can-embracing-march-madness-make-your-office-more-productive-111742 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bball cropped.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>The snow is melting. The potholes crackling. The sun shining. And yes, it&#39;s <a href="https://youtu.be/8q6X-N4sJ1o">March Madness</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>It&rsquo;s thrilling, it&rsquo;s exciting, it&rsquo;s quintessentially American. Some 77 million people across the country are expected to come down with some form of March Madness this year. Pete Kadens is one of those people.</p><p>&ldquo;For a couple years out of college, I worked for a big company out of New York. I hated every minute of it, frankly&mdash;but there were two days I hated more than any other,&rdquo; Kadens said.</p><p>Those two days were the Thursday and the Friday of March Madness.</p><p>&ldquo;I saw that actually no one was working. There weren&rsquo;t smart phones but people brought in mini televisions, had them under their desks,&rdquo; Kadens explained.</p><p>Firms like Challenger, Gray &amp; Christmas <a href="http://www.challengergray.com/press/press-releases/its-march-madness-years-madness-could-cost-19b" target="_blank">calculate</a> the cost of such antics. They estimate a $1.9 billion loss in productivity---when workers like Kadens spend time researching picks, filling out brackets and watching games on their computer...they&rsquo;re not working.</p><p>But Kadens made a commitment to his post-college, cubicle-confined self: If he ever started his own company, he was going to be different.</p><p>&ldquo;My company would have vacation days. And together, instead of working, we would celebrate and watch March Madness,&rdquo; Kadens said.</p><p>And that&rsquo;s exactly what he did. Every year, his company, SoCore Energy, cancels work on the first Friday of the tournament. He invites employees, clients and vendors to come meet at a bar to enjoy some drinks, some games and some outside-of-the-office time with coworkers.</p><p>The rationale, Kadens said, is much bigger than his love of college basketball.</p><p>&ldquo;The NCAA Tournament is all about David vs. Goliath. And everyone, I don&rsquo;t care who you root for, everyone wants to see the underdog win,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Kadens said seeing employees with their family and friends helps him understand the biases they bring to the table.</p><p>&ldquo;This event gives us a forum to meet those people and understand someone&rsquo;s underlying bias--why John acts this way--that gives you more context...there&rsquo;s a rationale to it, it&rsquo;s not just, let&rsquo;s go have fun,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>But, as it turns out, there may be some merit to the party plan. NYU Professor <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/leeigel/2015/03/17/stop-the-insanity-about-ncaa-march-madness-ruining-workplace-productivity/" target="_blank">Lee Igel</a> seems to think so&mdash;he&rsquo;s an expert in decision making and behaviors at work in the sports business.</p><p>&ldquo;We would&#39;ve thought it completely insane to let people take the time, away from their work on company dime, to go off and do something like watch basketball games or fill out brackets,&rdquo; Igel said.</p><p>But he says that type of thinking is outdated.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>According to Igel, the nature of &ldquo;work&rdquo; in America has changed. 100 years ago, most people worked with their hands. In the 21st Century, we&rsquo;re working with our minds. It&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s called &ldquo;knowledge work.&rdquo;</p><p>He added there&rsquo;s no need for fake spreadsheets or secret live streams--it will ultimately hurt companies in the long run. And further, Igel argues, today&rsquo;s workforce needs these periodic distractions.</p><p>&ldquo;We need people to actually get away from the same thing, over and over and over again,&rdquo; Igel said. &ldquo;This idea of indulging in March Madness with cloak and dagger, we don&rsquo;t need that anymore, we don&rsquo;t live in that world, we don&rsquo;t work in that world...stop the insanity over March Madness.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/can-embracing-march-madness-make-your-office-more-productive-111742 Chicago City Council passes Obama library ordinance http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-city-council-passes-obama-library-ordinance-111719 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CAY3HepUwAA_3VT.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s official: The University of Chicago can use city park land for its bid for the Obama Presidential Library.</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago City Council signed off on Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s <a href="https://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2140125&amp;GUID=724A9444-6F25-4DA0-A5C7-B7FB19766038&amp;Options=&amp;Search=">proposal</a> to allow the university use of about 20 acres of land on the South Side in Washington Park or Jackson Park, should the president chooses the U of C bid for the coveted library. The proposal was Emanuel&rsquo;s way of soothing any anxiety the Obama Foundation had about the Hyde Park-based school&rsquo;s bid; or, as he calls, it, moving &ldquo;heaven and earth&rdquo; to make sure the library lands in Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">Emanuel called the library a &ldquo;once-in-a-lifetime opportunity&rdquo; for the city.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If you have another [project with] half-a-billion dollar to three-quarter-of-a-billion dollar economic impact,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;I have a suggestion box, could you please put it in? I have yet to see it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Back in January, the Obama Foundation raised concerns over the city&rsquo;s lack of control over the proposed sites in the University of Chicago bid. Emanuel&rsquo;s land transfer would allow either park to be used, and in exchange, promises the Chicago Park District will receive additional green space.</p><p dir="ltr">On Wednesday, aldermen from all over the city stood up, one-by-one, in support of not just the park land proposal, but to share once again why they believe the library belongs in Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Whether it&rsquo;s Jackson Park or Washington Park or North Lawndale, there&rsquo;s an opportunity to bring thousands of jobs, $750 million investment in communities that have not been invested in for years,&rdquo; Ald. Will Burns (4) said.</p><p dir="ltr">Others stressed Obama&rsquo;s Chicago roots and his connection to the South and West Side communities.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Every political decision that the president made, I was there with him,&rdquo; Ald. Leslie Hairston said. &ldquo;His roots are right there in Hyde Park, in the 5th ward.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The vote total almost ended with one dissenter: On the first roll call vote, Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) voted against the plan. But after some prodding from his colleagues, and a nod from Mayor Emanuel that any hiring for the library plan would come from the neighborhoods, he switched to a Yes vote.</p><p dir="ltr">But even with a strong vote total out City Hall, it will be the president and first lady who makes the final decision about where the library lands. The Obamas could <a href="http://www.barackobamafoundation.org/news/entry/obama-foundation-issues-rfp-to-four-potential-hosts-of-future-presidential">choose</a> Columbia University in New York City, the University of Hawaii or the University of Illinois at Chicago. According to multiple news reports, that decision isn&rsquo;t expected to come until <a href="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA_LIBRARY?SITE=AP&amp;SECTION=HOME&amp;TEMPLATE=DEFAULT">after Chicago&rsquo;s mayoral runoff election.</a></p><p dir="ltr">There is opposition to the park land plan outside of the council chambers: The Friends of the Parks group has long said that the mayor&rsquo;s proposal could set a &ldquo;dangerous precedent&rdquo; and that it has national parks groups watching. The group hasn&rsquo;t ruled out any potential legal action.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-city-council-passes-obama-library-ordinance-111719 Pi Day makes math delicious http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/pi-day-makes-math-delicious-111699 <p><p>Every circle, no matter if it&rsquo;s a pea or a planet, has the same circumference-diameter ratio. That ratio is pi.</p><p>It&rsquo;s also a number. One that&rsquo;s not easy to quantify. Its digits go on and on and on&mdash;forever.</p><p>Pi has some interesting real-world applications: sound waves, global navigation, even rainbows have connections to pi.</p><p>Most people say pi equals about 3.14.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why Pi Day is celebrated by math geeks around the world on the March 14.</p><p>This year is especially exciting because it&rsquo;s Pi Day to the fourth decimal point: 3.1415.&nbsp;</p><p>That won&rsquo;t happen again for a hundred years.</p><p>In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives jumped onto the math party wagon and issued <a href="http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hres224eh/pdf/BILLS-111hres224eh.pdf">House Resolution 224</a>, designating March 14 as Pi Day.</p><p>Amid a dozen whereases was concern that American students were lagging behind in math and science compared to kids in other countries.</p><p>Lots of math teachers didn&rsquo;t need a House resolution to get their kids excited about math. That&rsquo;s true for Mara Lewis, who teaches 7th grade math at Catalyst Maria charter school in Chicago.</p><p>She remembers celebrating Pi Day when she was a kid.</p><p>&ldquo;I specifically remember we used to have this contest of who could find these hidden shirts that had pi, 3.14, all over it,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And I still have a shirt that I won because I found it. So I&rsquo;ve been talking to them about this before I introduced what pi was to them.&rdquo;</p><p>Sofia Salazar, one of Lewis&rsquo; students, is catching on.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s interesting because it&rsquo;s one whole number with so many digits behind it,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And you can use it for so many different things.&rdquo;</p><p>When asked what she already knows about pi, she offers a nuanced answer:</p><p>&ldquo;Well, it depends which one you&rsquo;re talking about. But pi would be 3.14 or the delicious dessert, which is my favorite.&rdquo;</p><p>There&rsquo;s no real connection between mathematical pi and food pie, and math teachers aren&rsquo;t the only ones buying into the fun.</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/150313%20pie.jpg" title="Employees at Hoosier Mama pie shop in Evanston prepare for this year’s Epic Pi Day. (WBEZ/Greta Johnsen)" /></div><p>Paula Haney runs Hoosier Mama pie shop.</p><p>&ldquo;Pi Day is probably third after Christmas and Thanksgiving,&quot; Haney said. &quot;It&rsquo;d be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then Pi Day.&rdquo;</p><p>As she slices and squeezes tiny key limes, she says she and her husband opened their first pie shop on March 14, 2009, the first unofficial official Pi Day.</p><p>Since then, they&rsquo;ve learned just what a big deal Pi Day is. Last year, their shop in Evanston exceeded expectations.</p><p>&ldquo;Rachel, who was managing the front that day, was on a step stool yelling out what pies we had and what pies we didn&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Haney said. &ldquo;We couldn&rsquo;t keep the menu board written fast enough.&rdquo;</p><p>Haney says on a typical Saturday, she makes about 170 pies. This year, she&rsquo;s prepping for more than 400.</p><p>All the attention may be igniting enthusiasm among students, but so far, Pi Day hasn&rsquo;t done much to change how American kids rank in math compared to the rest of the world. But teacher Mara Lewis thinks it&rsquo;s fun to keep trying.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s a nice way to make math relevant and see, you know, 3.14, we use numbers in everyday life, March 14th. It could definitely be incorporated into standardized testing and also used as a break from it&hellip;the kids are very excited about it, so it&rsquo;s exciting for me as a teacher.&rdquo;</p><p>And after all, Pi Day is really about making math as delicious as possible.</p></p> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 14:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/pi-day-makes-math-delicious-111699 Oprah's Harpo Studios in Chicago to close in December http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/oprahs-harpo-studios-chicago-close-december-111649 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/harpo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Oprah Winfrey will close Harpo Studios in Chicago, where she filmed &quot;The Oprah Winfrey Show&quot; for more than 20 years, this December, and will transition production for her cable network to a studio in California.</p><p>Harpo Studios and the Oprah Winfrey Network made the announcement Tuesday. OWN recently moved into a new studio in West Hollywood, California, and work currently done at Harpo Studios in Chicago will now be done there.</p><p>Winfrey sold the Harpo Studios property in Chicago&#39;s West Loop neighborhood to a developer last year for about $32 million. She said in a statement Tuesday that Harpo Studios has been a &quot;blessing&quot; in her life and she&#39;s now &quot;looking ahead&quot; to inhabiting her California studio.</p><p>The city named the street outside Harpo Studios &quot;Oprah Winfrey Way&quot; in 2011.</p></p> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 13:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/oprahs-harpo-studios-chicago-close-december-111649 White Sox icon Minnie Minoso dies http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/white-sox-icon-minnie-minoso-dies-111639 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Minnie Minoso 1955 AP crop site_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>▲ LISTEN&nbsp;</strong><em>WBEZ&#39;s Yolanda Perdomo talks with Morning Edition host Lisa Labuz about Minoso&#39;s life and career.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;">...</p><p>Minnie Minoso, the seemingly ageless Cuban slugger who broke into the majors just two years after Jackie Robinson and turned into the game&#39;s first black Latino star, has died, a medical examiner in Illinois said Sunday.</p><p>The Cook County medical examiner&#39;s office did not immediately offer further details. There is some question about Minoso&#39;s age but the Chicago White Sox say he was 90.</p><p>Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago, hitting .304 with 135 homers and 808 RBIs for the White Sox. The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983 and there is a statue of Minoso at U.S. Cellular Field.</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/minnie-minosos-first-game-106394"><strong>Hear Minoso tell the story of his first game in Comiskey</strong></a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/white-sox-icon-minnie-minoso-dies-111639#obama"><strong>Obama: Minoso will always be &#39;Mr. White Sox&#39;</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>&quot;We have lost our dear friend and a great man,&quot; White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a release. &quot;Many tears are falling.&quot;</p><p>Minoso made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949 and was dealt to the White Sox in a three-team trade two years later. He became major league baseball&#39;s first black player in Chicago on May 1, 1951, and homered in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Vic Raschi.</p><p>It was the start of a beautiful relationship between the slugger and the White Sox.</p><p>Minoso, regarded as baseball&#39;s first black Latino star, was a Havana native who spent most of his career in left field. He is one of only two players to appear in a major league game in five different decades. He got his final hit in 1976 at age 53 and went 0 for 2 in two games in 1980 for the White Sox, who tried unsuccessfully over the years to get the &quot;Cuban Comet&quot; into baseball&#39;s Hall of Fame.</p><p>&quot;When I watched Minnie Minoso play, I always thought I was looking at a Hall of Fame player,&quot; Reinsdorf said in an informational package produced by the team for a 2011 Cooperstown push. &quot;I never understood why Minnie wasn&#39;t elected.</p><p>&quot;He did everything. He could run, he could field, he could hit with power, he could bunt and steal bases. He was one of the most exciting players I have ever seen.&quot;</p><p>Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta was selected for nine All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves in left. He was hit by a pitch 192 times, ninth on baseball&#39;s career list, and finished in the top four in AL MVP voting four times.</p><p>Despite the push by the White Sox and other prominent Latin players, Minoso has never made it to Cooperstown. His highest percentage during his 15 years on the writers&#39; ballot was 21.1 in 1988. He was considered by the Veterans Committee in 2014 and fell short of the required percentage for induction.</p><p>&quot;My last dream is to be in Cooperstown, to be with those guys,&quot; Minoso said in that 2011 package distributed by the White Sox. &quot;I want to be there. This is my life&#39;s dream.&quot;</p><p>Minoso, who made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949, hit .298 for his career with 186 homers and 1,023 RBIs. The speedy Minoso also led the AL in triples and steals three times in each category.</p><p>Playing in an era dominated by the Yankees, Minoso never played in the postseason.</p><p>&quot;Every young player in Cuba wanted to be like Minnie Minoso, and I was one of them,&quot; Hall of Fame slugger Tony Perez said. &quot;The way he played the game, hard all the time, hard. He was very consistent playing the game. He tried to win every game. And if you want to be like somebody, and I picked Minnie, you have to be consistent.&quot;</p><p>Minoso appeared in just nine games in his first stint with the Indians, but he took off when he was dealt to Chicago as part of a three-team trade in 1951 that also involved the Philadelphia Athletics. He went deep in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Raschi, and hit .375 in his first 45 games with the White Sox.</p><p>Minoso finished that first season in Chicago with a .326 batting average, 10 homers and 76 RBIs in 146 games for the Indians and White Sox. He also had a major league-best 14 triples and an AL-best 31 steals.</p><p>It was Minoso&#39;s first of eight seasons with at least a .300 batting average. He also had four seasons with at least 100 RBIs.</p><p>&quot;I have baseball in my blood,&quot; Minoso said. &quot;Baseball is all I&#39;ve ever wanted to do.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">President Barack Obama&#39;s statement about Minoso<a name="obama"></a></span></p><blockquote><p>For South Siders and Sox fans all across the country, including me, Minnie Minoso is and will always be &ldquo;Mr. White Sox.&rdquo;</p><p>The first black Major Leaguer in Chicago, Minnie came to the United States from Cuba even though he could have made more money elsewhere.&nbsp; He came up through the Negro Leagues, and didn&rsquo;t speak much English at first.&nbsp; And as he helped to integrate baseball in the 1950s, he was a target of racial slurs from fans and opponents, sometimes forced to stay in different motels from his teammates.&nbsp; But his speed, his power &ndash; and his resilient optimism &ndash; earned him multiple All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves in left field, and he became one of the most dominant and dynamic players of the 1950s.</p><p>Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie&rsquo;s quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could.</p><p>Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family and fans in Chicago, Cleveland, and around the world.</p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:24px;">More from the WBEZ archives about the baseball legend <a name="playlist"></a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="380" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/85470411&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 12:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/white-sox-icon-minnie-minoso-dies-111639 Your favorite Chicago coffee shops http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-02-26/your-favorite-chicago-coffee-shops-111630 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/coffee.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="responsive-embed-coffeemap">Thirty years ago, most Chicagoans couldn&rsquo;t have imagined paying more than a buck for their cup of daily Joe. Oh, how the times have changed.<p>Call it the Starbucks effect. For better or worse, drinking habits have morphed and a whole gourmet coffee industry has blossomed. Illinois is home to more than 350 official Starbucks cafes and dozens of restaurants and institutions that serve the company&rsquo;s brew.</p>But competitors abound and continue to grow in our coffee-loving town. Last month, Berkeley-based Peet&rsquo;s Coffee &amp; Tea opened a flagship store in the historic Wrigley Building, less than a block away from the busiest Starbucks in the city. And the company has plans for more shops across the city.<p>Still, these national chains are by no means the hottest cup in town. Chicago has a proud and growing stable of local artisan roasters. And according to our very non-scientific survey, they top the list of favorite coffees among local public radio listeners.</p><p>WBEZ asked its Facebook followers to name their favorite cafes, and the comments came pouring in with Jackalope, Metropolis, Dark Matter, Cafe Jumping Bean and Wormhole topping the list. Below you can find the 11 Chicago cafes they like the most as well as an interactive map listing all the cafes our followers recommended. So if you&rsquo;re looking for someone to gab with about your favorite radio shows over coffee, these may be the best bets in town. Happy sipping!</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Top 11 Chicago cafes for public radio lovers</span></p><ul><li>Jackalope Coffee in Bridgeport (34 mentions)</li><li>Metropolis (33)</li><li>Dark Matter (27)&nbsp;</li><li>Cafe Jumping Bean (18)</li><li>Wormhole (14)</li><li>Gaslight Coffee Roasters (14)</li><li>Perkolator (13)</li><li>Bridgeport Coffee &amp; Tea (13)</li><li>Heritage General Store (13)</li><li>Ipsento (12)</li><li>Intelligentsia (11)</li><li>Big Shoulders (10)&nbsp;</li></ul><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Top 12 most-served gourmet coffees in Chicago</span></p><p>When it comes to choosing coffee beans, Chicagoans have become much more discerning over the last 25 years. But whose beans &mdash; aside from Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts &mdash; are served up in the most restaurants and cafes around Chicago? We recently called top local and national coffee roasters to find out. Here&rsquo;s what they reported.</p><ul><li>Metropolis: 350</li><li>Intelligentsia: 300</li><li>La Colombe: 150</li><li>Dark Matter: 75</li><li>Julius Meinl: 70-75</li><li>Bow Truss: 70</li><li>Big Shoulders: 40</li><li>Alterra/Collectivo: 30-40</li><li>Passion House: 30</li><li>Counter Culture: 17</li><li>Stumptown/Ipsento: 10</li><li>Gaslight: 6<br />&nbsp;</li></ul><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="620" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/coffeemap/" style="float: right; clear: right;" width="620"></iframe></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-02-26/your-favorite-chicago-coffee-shops-111630 Academy Award fever sweeps public radio http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/academy-award-fever-sweeps-public-radio-111590 <p><p>The 87th Academy Awards are tonight, but if you&#39;ve been listening to WBEZ you already know that. Public media had film fever lately, publishing in-depth interviews and stories on the filmmaking process. Here&#39;s a selection of our favorite interviews with Oscar-contenders, stories about the film industry and analysis from thoughtful critics.</p><p><span style="font-size: 24px;">Best Director Nominees</span></p><p>Our own <a href="http://nerdettepodcast.com/listen">Nerdette Podcast</a> had a wonderful interview with <em>Boyhood</em> director Richard Linklater. He explained how his approach to the film was informed by novel-writing and nerded out about the Ingmar Bergman film, <em>Fanny and Alexander</em>, &quot;I realized this is the greatest film about that view of the magical thinking of a kid.&quot;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191621846&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></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/KeatonBirdman.png" style="float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Michael Keaton and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Courtesy of Fox Searchlight)" /><em>Birdman</em> director Alejandro González Iñárritu told <a href="http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2014/09/01/39126/birdman-alejandro-gonzlez-inarritu-michael-keaton/" target="_blank">Southern California Public Radio&#39;s <em>The Frame</em></a> he felt Michael Keaton&rsquo;s performance was &ldquo;almost a miracle.&rdquo;</div><blockquote><p>&quot;During the writing process, I had Michael Keaton as one of the highest possibilities, but then when I finished I knew that he was the best. Not only because he will bring the authority to really talk about what we talk about when we talk about superheroes. That would be Michael, because he, in a way, is the pioneer of that. That will bring the authority, a kind of a meta-dialogue to the film.</p><p>&quot;At the same time, I always have considered Michael Keaton to be a phenomenal actor because he navigates drama and comedy. He has been the bad guy, the funny guy, and I needed somebody who can really navigate those two genres and I think few actors can do that. What he did is extraordinarily difficult, honestly. I think I have worked with great actors, but what he did it was almost a miracle, I have to say.&quot;</p></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP722953903556.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Ralph Fiennes and Wes Anderson (AP/Thibault Camus)" />Writer/director Wes Anderson <a href="http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2015/02/10/41493/wes-anderson-says-the-grand-budapest-hotels-succes/" target="_blank">told <em>The Frame</em></a> that the success of <em>The Grand Budapest Hotel</em> was a &ldquo;total mystery.&rdquo;</div><blockquote><div>&ldquo;I could come up with some notion, but it&#39;s complete guess work ... I had one a few years ago, [&quot;The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou&quot;], that I thought, This is an ocean-going adventure story, it&#39;s the most commercial idea I&#39;ve ever had...[but] almost no one went to see it. I thought I was making a kind of Spielberg movie. The world did not share my perspective on this. Up until the moment there&#39;s a real public screening &mdash; and it&#39;s not a test screening, the movie is finished and we are at a film festival&nbsp; or something &mdash; I have absolutely no sense of how it&#39;s going to go over at all. And really, even after that, I tend not to.&rdquo;</div></blockquote><p>While Benedict Cumberbatch has recieved most of the attention over <em>The Imitation Game</em>, director Morten Tlydum has also been nominated for Best Director on his first English-language feature. He <a href="http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2014/09/02/39151/telluride-the-imitation-game-screenwriter-and-dire/" target="_blank">told <em>The Frame</em></a>:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;What drew me to the project is that it&#39;s a tribute to people who are different &mdash; who are thinking differently, who [don&#39;t] really fit into the norm, whose ideas are not like anybody&#39;s ideas &mdash; and I think that is so important. We as a society &mdash; we as a species &mdash; if we&#39;re going to move forward, we have to listen to those who think different &mdash; who are not seeing it in the same way as everyone else.&quot;</p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Best Picture Nominees</span></p><p><em>Selma</em> was a favorite for nominations in a number of Oscar categories, but was limited to Best Picture and Best Song. This slight prompted an insightful conversation on WBEZ&#39;s <em>General Admission</em> podcast about the value of making lists about art and how they can starkly show the industry&#39;s lack of diversity.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191665733&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The most controversal film among the Best Picture nominees, <em>American Sniper</em> became a central point on <em>Filmspotting</em>&#39;s Oscar preview episode. They looked back to another Clint Eastwood directoral effort for comparison&mdash;<em>Unforgiven.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/190985372&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Whiplash</em> writer/director Damien Chazelle <a href="http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2014/10/09/39765/whiplash-director-damien-chazelle-painful-virtuoso/" target="_blank">told <em>The Frame</em></a> that he was inspired by musicians he knows in real life.</p><blockquote><p>&quot;There are a few musicians that I know who seem on the outside like very asocial or somewhat unemotional people, people who aren&#39;t capable of emotions, and people think they&#39;re very cold inside.</p><p>And they&#39;ll be like that, and then you&#39;ll hear them play their instrument, or you&#39;ll hear the music they write, and you&#39;ll hear emotions come out of that music that you&#39;d never expect coming from that person, and that to me is always this fascinating thing, these people who truly can only communicate through music.</p><p>So I wanted to make a movie about people who live music in that way and compare that to what it&#39;s like in the outside world. You know, a guy who gives his heart and soul to a music school and an instrument and then he goes out to dinner with his family and he&#39;s met with indifference, and what that sort of does to you when your interior passion doesn&#39;t line up with what the world wants from you.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Hollywood Jobs</span></p><p>NPR&#39;s <em>Morning Edition</em> contined their ten-year tradition of unleashing Susan Stamberg on Tinseltown backlots for her series &quot;<a href="http://www.npr.org/series/147290803/hollywood-jobs#" target="_blank">Hollywood Jobs</a>.&quot; In this year&#39;s installment Stamberg profiles soundtrack loopers, food stylists, costume designers, location scouts and prop makers.</p><p>In a similar vein, <em>Marketplace </em>learned <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/logistical-mind-behind-boyhoods-12-year-shoot" target="_blank">what exactly a first assistant director does</a> and did the numbers on the <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/economy-red-carpet" target="_blank">economy of the red carpet</a>.</p></p> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 11:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/academy-award-fever-sweeps-public-radio-111590 Concert giant Live Nation facing new scrutiny http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-02/concert-giant-live-nation-facing-new-scrutiny-111565 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Live%20Nation%20Logo.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" /></div><p>While Live Nation/Ticketmaster continues to get pretty much anything it wants in Chicago, the giant concert promoter that many have called a monopoly is coming under increased scrutiny elsewhere in the U.S.</p><p>Last week, <em>Washington Post </em>reporter Lydia DePillis wrote a piece <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/11/how-live-nation-exploits-low-wage-workers-to-stage-its-rock-concerts/?postshare=6321423761299996">criticizing the company for using independent contractors</a> in a dozen major markets, including Nashville, Memphis, and Atlanta. The contractors are paid as little as $10 an hour to do &ldquo;tricky, dangerous jobs&rdquo; involving staging that might be better overseen by union professionals, albeit at a greater cost. (On Saturday, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-how-live-nation-exploits-low-wage-workers-20150214-story.html#page=1">the story was reprinted in <em>The Chicago Tribune</em>,</a> which does very little original reporting on the company&rsquo;s local operations.)</p><p>&ldquo;At an event run by the biggest concert promoter in the industry&mdash;Live Nation, with its hefty fees on tickets for concertgoers&mdash;the contrast is jarring&rdquo; and possibly dangerous, DePillis wrote. She went on:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;In the entertainment industry, the main union representing backstage labor&mdash;the 122,000-strong International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)&mdash; worries the model might expand further, driving down salaries and cutting the number of hours available for their members&hellip;</p><p>&ldquo;This week, the union is going to start making some noise on the issue with the ultimate customer&mdash;concertgoers.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>&nbsp;Live Nation/Ticketmaster&rsquo;s labor relations have not drawn criticism in Chicago to date, though many of its other business practices have, from heavy-handed treatment of competitors, to poor customer service and egregious ticket fees.</p><p>The company, which counts Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s brother Ari among the members of its board of directors, has a long-term contract here for the 30,000-capacity Northerly Island concert venue, and it now owns a controlling interest in Lollapalooza. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-02/emanuel-cashes-big-lakefront-concerts-111486http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-02/emanuel-cashes-big-lakefront-concerts-111486">As this blog recently reported</a>, the mayor has accepted campaign donations from top Live Nation and Lollapalooza executives, despite his pledge not to take money from city contractors, and he broke a promise to ask for an independent negotiator to deal with those companies during his first term.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/venue-1150.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 640px;" title="The Greek Theatre in L.A. (www.greektheatrela.com)" /></div></div><p>Meanwhile, Live Nation/Ticketmaster also is under fire in Los Angeles, where the City Council voted to oppose its bid to run the historic Greek Theatre.</p><p><a href="http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-vote-greek-theatre-20150211-story.html">According to <em>The Los Angeles Times</em></a><em>, </em>Live Nation is the choice of the mayor and the parks commission to run the theater currently operated by competing bidders the Nederlander Organization (which once ran Poplar Creek here). &ldquo;But when city lawmakers were asked to weigh in, most disagreed with the decision to choose Live Nation.&rdquo;</p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 06:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-02/concert-giant-live-nation-facing-new-scrutiny-111565 Numero Group digs deep for 'Cavern Sound' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-02/numero-group-digs-deep-cavern-sound-111535 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cavern%20sound.jpg" style="height: 456px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>Measured against other historical rock archives devoted to unearthing hidden gems from the fertile period of psychedelic exploration in the late &rsquo;60s and early &rsquo;70s, Numero Group&rsquo;s <em>Local Customs: Cavern Sound </em>is no <em>Nuggets </em>in terms of being truly indispensible, but then few such compilations are. It is, however, easily the equal of, say, the <em>Pebbles </em>series; that is, these groovy period ditties may not be treasures you&rsquo;ll wonder how you ever lived without, but they do make for a pleasant and trippy soundtrack, delivered with the Chicago label&rsquo;s usual loving care toward presentation, annotation, and audio quality.</p><p>The story this time centers on one aptly named recording studio located deep underground in Independence, Missouri&rsquo;s Pixley limestone mine. Cavern Sound was active until the late &rsquo;80s, but <em>Local Customs </em>focuses on 1967-1973, years when the local rock-minded teens, like those across the U.S., were all growing their hair long, dreaming of being the Beatles, and imitating that group&rsquo;s studio innovations and sonic journeys toward the white light, whether or not they actually had the enhancement of psychoactive substances.</p><p>Aesthetic ambitions and a similar time and place aside, two dozen tracks from two dozen bands can make for an inconsistent ride, but when Numero is doing the compiling, the range is still from pretty darn great to slight but fun, with no downright stinkers. Among my highlights: the strutting, horn-augmented &ldquo;Aunt Marie&rdquo; by American Sound Ltd., which somehow makes the 63-year-old titular heroine sound hotter than the contemporary Nancy Sinatra; the sunny but nasty &ldquo;I Don&rsquo;t Really Love You&rdquo; by a band called Sheriff; the rollicking &ldquo;Little by Little&rdquo; from Morningstar, and the Dylan-meets-the Seeds trip of &ldquo;One Day Girl (Twenty-Four)&rdquo; by Burlington Express.</p><p>Tune in, turn it up, and dig deep, and thanks again, Numero.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HgSSHUMnXn0" width="560"></iframe></p><p><strong>Various artists, <em>Local Customs: Cavern Sound</em> (Numero Group)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: 3.5 stars.</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike></em></strong><strong><em>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 08:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-02/numero-group-digs-deep-cavern-sound-111535