WBEZ | Culture http://www.wbez.org/news/culture Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Obama says Sony should not have pulled film over hacking http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/obama-says-sony-should-not-have-pulled-film-over-hacking-111277 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP809914660283_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama called Sony&#39;s decision to pull its film&nbsp;The Interview&nbsp;over a hacking by North Korea a &quot;mistake.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,&quot; the president&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/19/371881952/live-obamas-year-end-news-conference">said in his year-end news conference</a>.</p><p>He added that he was &quot;sympathetic&quot; about their concerns, but, &quot;I wish they would have spoken to me first.&quot;</p><p>Earlier Friday, the FBI said it has enough information to confirm that North Korea was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures.</p><p>The agency tied the attack to North Korea because the malware used in the attack had the hallmarks of software written by the country in the past.</p><p>&quot;For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks,&quot; the FBI said in a statement.</p><p>The tools used, the agency said, also had similarities to a cyberattack that took place in March of last year against banks in South Korea.</p><p>The hack has caused serious repercussions for Sony. The stolen data have made public some embarrassing emails written by its executives. Hackers also leaked unreleased movies and scripts.</p><p>The group that took responsibility for the attack, &quot;Guardians of Peace,&quot; said it was responding to Sony Pictures&#39; comedy about an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.</p><p>After the group issued threats to attack movie theaters that show the film, major movie chains pulled&nbsp;The Interview&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/17/371477960/major-theater-chains-wont-screen-the-interview-amid-threats">Sony decided against a Christmas Day release</a>.</p><p>&quot;We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private-sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there,&quot; the FBI said. &quot;Further, North Korea&#39;s attack on [Sony] reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States.&quot;</p><p>In a separate statement, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the hack &quot;underscores the importance of good cybersecurity practices to rapidly detect cyber intrusions and promote resilience throughout all of our networks.</p><p>&quot;Every CEO should take this opportunity to assess their company&#39;s cybersecurity,&quot; he added.</p><p>Immediately following the FBI announcement, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., criticized the White House for not imposing tough financial sanctions on North Korea.</p><p>&quot;North Korea is attacking our infrastructure,&quot; Royce said in a statement. &quot;It is also attacking our values. The decision to pull &#39;The Interview&#39; from theatres unfortunately is a North Korean victory in its attack on our freedom. We better quickly respond comprehensively to defend freedom of speech in the face of terrorist threats and cyber attacks.&quot;</p><p>Options, though, are limited. The U.S. could impose new financial sanctions on Pyongyang and boost military support to South Korea. Yet these moves have had little impact on the heavily sanctioned country in the past.</p><p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/12/19/media/insde-sony-hack-interview/index.html?hpt=hp_t1">CNN reported earlier today</a>&nbsp;that the hackers behind the attack issued another statement today, praising Sony for pulling the movie. Removing it from screens, the hackers said in an email to Sony executives, was a &quot;very wise&quot; decision.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/19/371894427/fbi-formally-accuses-north-korea-in-sony-hacking"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/obama-says-sony-should-not-have-pulled-film-over-hacking-111277 Improviser finds purpose in Chicago police mental health crisis trainings http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141219 Clark Weber.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 2004, the Chicago Police Department implemented a voluntary training program to deal with mental health emergencies.</p><p>Today, Chicago has the <a href="http://www.namichicago.org/documents/cit_advocacy_sheet.pdf" target="_blank">largest crisis intervention training program in the world</a>, according to Alexa James, Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)-Chicago.</p><p>Clark Weber is an essential part of the crisis intervention training. In this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, Weber describes how he found himself in the greatest role of his life.</p><p>After moving to Chicago in the late 1980s, Weber studied improv at Second City. He loves acting, whether it&rsquo;s theater, television or film. But Weber struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies too. He was diagnosed as bipolar and spent four-and-a-half weeks at a state mental hospital before moving into a group home with Thresholds, a non-profit that assists people with mental illness.</p><p>&ldquo;When I came to Thresholds,&rdquo; Weber said, &ldquo;they had a theater arts program &ndash; which now unfortunately is defunct - and I was told that we have this opportunity to role play with Chicago police to make them aware and see what a real mental health crisis is like.&rdquo;</p><p>Weber soon found himself in the middle of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program, roleplaying as a person in distress.</p><p>The role-playing can be intense, Weber said. &ldquo;Officers have play weapons and a real Taser, which is non-functioning. And instead of using force, they try to talk us down. And we have total freedom to insult the police officers. We have total freedom to swear at them, to make it as real as possible.&rdquo;</p><p>If officers feel &ldquo;that the Taser needs to be used, they&rsquo;ll just point it towards us and say, &lsquo;Taser. Taser. Taser.&rsquo; So we&rsquo;re fake-Tased and then we discuss why the officer feels he or she had to do that.&rdquo;</p><p>Pastor Fred Kinsey is a member of ONE Northside, a group that this past year helped get police to increase the number of officers able to go through CIT training. &ldquo;If you have tools to recognize people in crisis, to know what kinds of medications people are on, that helps,&rdquo; Kinsey said. Chicago Police recently doubled the number of officers who are able to receive CIT training each year, Kinsey said. But that doubling of officers - from 200 to 400 officers each year &ndash; is small compared to the number of officers who don&rsquo;t take the training. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to see the majority, if not all, officers trained,&rdquo; Kinsey said. The biggest impediment to expanding the training program, he said, is not so much financial, but the time costs of taking officers off the street.</p><p>For Clark Weber, the experience has been transformative. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not saying every day&rsquo;s gonna be a good day, or every day&rsquo;s gonna be a great day. Being bipolar I do have my ups and downs. But I run into officers that I&rsquo;ve helped train or they&rsquo;ve been in a class and they&rsquo;ve watched the videos. And I&rsquo;ve had officers come up to me and said, &lsquo;Because of you I helped save this person&rsquo;s life. Or I helped this person get the treatment that they needed.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very empowering,&rdquo; Weber says. &ldquo;For the first time in my life, I feel I have a purpose. I have a place in the world.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 With Sony hack, nation-state attacks go from quiet to overt http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sony-hack-nation-state-attacks-go-quiet-overt-111264 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP809914660283.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>NPR has confirmed from U.S. intelligence officials that North Korea was centrally involved with the recent attacks against Sony Pictures. And the company says it is pulling its comedy film The Interview from the box office. It was supposed to debut on Christmas. These are major developments in what we may now call cyberwarfare.</p><p>The White House hasn&#39;t come out and said it yet, but intelligence officials tell us that the North Korean government was in fact involved in this hack against Sony, where everything from social security numbers to executive salaries and celebrity gossip got leaked.</p><p>Yes, it&#39;s the confirmation that many people have been waiting for. Though it&#39;s also really important to note that we don&#39;t exactly know what that means &mdash; and I&#39;ve spoken with security experts who remain skeptical.</p><p>That said, if it&#39;s true, it really is extraordinary. North Korea is one of the poorest countries on Earth. Its people don&#39;t go online &mdash; they&#39;re cut off from the Internet. But its government has allegedly launched an overt cyberattack &mdash; and even secured a decisive victory &mdash; against one of the biggest companies on Earth.</p><p>Repeat: overt.</p><p>That&#39;s a key part here &mdash; the fact that you and I and everyone else knows about it.</p><p>I want to compare this with another cyberattack &mdash; one that was carried out by nation-state actors: Stuxnet in 2010. That&#39;s when the U.S. and Israel used some very sophisticated code to dig their way into nuclear facilities in Iran and damage the actual physical centrifuges.</p><p>In that case, the hackers caused physical damage in the real world &mdash; but they did it covertly. While the news eventually broke, it&#39;s not like the U.S. was sending out press releases.</p><p>In this case, the hackers &mdash; who might be North Korean officials or backed by the regime &mdash; have been very vocal from the get. Using the name &quot;Guardians of Peace,&quot; they&#39;ve even threatened to hurt people who go to see the movie in theaters.</p><p>Theater chains that were supposed to screen The Interview decided not to, and Sony canceled the Christmas Day release.</p><p>So, effectively, the hackers grabbed a ton of attention through an online attack &mdash; one that was nowhere near as sophisticated as Stuxnet. And they leveraged all that attention, that power, to pivot &mdash; and make a physical threat that people suddenly felt was credible.</p><p>This whole chain of events has experts inside the cybersecurity industry really concerned. I talked to a few people whose job it is to ward off these kinds of attacks. And they have different takes on whether Sony, by caving, made the right decision for itself.</p><p>But across the board, they&#39;re worried that the company is sending the wrong message by handing off a huge win to a disgruntled state with very limited resources.</p><p>So the concern is that we&#39;re going to see copycats or a new trend on the horizon.</p><p>Cyberattacks happen every day. At this point, they&#39;re nothing new.</p><p>I was talking to this one security expert in Moscow, who pointed out that during the height of tensions between Russia and Ukraine, there were plenty of cyberattacks &mdash; online skirmishes with one side taking down the other side&#39;s media outlet or defacing websites.</p><p>Now this Sony episode is showing what a disproportionate impact a small, angry entity can have &mdash; and how an attack online can spill over to physical-world consequences.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/12/18/371581401/with-sony-hack-nation-state-attacks-go-from-quiet-to-overt" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sony-hack-nation-state-attacks-go-quiet-overt-111264 Freud's goal: Keep Chicago's Lyric Opera relevant http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/freuds-goal-keep-chicagos-lyric-opera-relevant-111263 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP199355075472.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Anthony Freud was 14, his favorite pastime was going to the opera in London and then, on the train ride home to Wimbledon where he lived with his parents, &quot;dreaming about how I could do it better when I ran a company of my own some day.&quot;</p><p>He&#39;s gotten his chance, not once but three times: first in Wales, then in Houston and now in Chicago, where he has been general director of the Lyric Opera since 2011.</p><p>Freud is only the fourth person to run the 60-year-old Lyric, and the first, after founder Carol Fox, who didn&#39;t come up through the ranks. Fox established the company&#39;s reputation for artistic excellence, but it was her successors, Ardis Krainik and William Mason, who stabilized its finances.</p><p>Lyric long enjoyed a subscriber base that was envied throughout the industry, but that has slipped in the wake of the economic meltdown. Changing tastes and competing demands on people&#39;s time also have contributed to a decline in ticket sales.</p><p>Despite these problems, Lyric ended last season in the black on a budget of more than $70 million. Meanwhile, the similar-sized San Francisco Opera and New York&#39;s Metropolitan Opera &mdash; five times as big &mdash; finished in the red.</p><p>But, as Freud was quick to point out during an interview last week in his office on the fourth floor of the Civic Opera House, though Lyric is financially sound for now, &quot;Stability is also fragile, especially post-2008.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Arts organizations the world over went through a period of existing in hermetically sealed bubbles,&quot; he said. &quot;We felt we were doing a good job ... and if it ain&#39;t broke, why fix it? Those assumptions gradually proved less and less reliable, to the point where they became almost irrelevant.&quot;</p><p>Keeping Lyric relevant is much on Freud&#39;s mind these days. And his proudest initiative is Lyric Unlimited, an outreach to cultural and community groups that previously had little or no exposure to opera.</p><p>For starters, he brought to Chicago a mariachi opera, &quot;Cruzar la Cara de la Luna&quot; (&quot;To Cross the Face of the Moon&quot;) that he had commissioned in Houston. It played one performance at the 3,600-seat Civic Opera House and several more in neighborhoods with large Mexican populations.</p><p>A second mariachi opera is to have its world premiere in March, and next year will also see performances in smaller venues of a klezmer opera commissioned in conjunction with performances in the main house of the Holocaust-themed opera &quot;The Passenger.&quot; Freud has also engaged composer Matthew Aucoin to create a children&#39;s opera called &quot;Second Nature&quot; that will premiere with a free performance in the Lincoln Park Zoo and then tour to schools.</p><p>&quot;The days when community engagement was thought of as, &#39;Here is La Boheme, come and see it, you should enjoy it&#39; ... that&#39;s what I call colonization rather than collaboration.&quot; Freud said. &quot;I&#39;ve been really clear with our board that the justification for investing in Lyric Unlimited is NOT to build our subscriber base. If we wanted to invest half a million dollars to sell more full-price tickets, we wouldn&#39;t do projects in economically deprived areas.&quot;</p><p>Not that he&#39;s neglecting the main house. Lyric&#39;s next season will include its first new piece in more than a decade, an adaptation of the Ann Patchett novel &quot;Bel Canto&quot; by composer Jimmy Lopez. That work has been nurtured by Lyric&#39;s creative consultant, soprano Renee Fleming, who also has sparked a collaboration with the improv comedy troupe Second City.</p><p>A series of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals that play after the regular season is proving a financial boon as well as bringing in potential new customers for opera. Last season&#39;s &quot;The Sound of Music&quot; played 30 performances and drew 71,000 people. More than 40,000 of those said they had never been to the opera house before.</p><p>He is also commissioning new looks at standard works, like the Robert Falls production of Mozart&#39;s &quot;Don Giovanni&quot; that opened the current season. Upcoming is a new production of Wagner&#39;s &quot;Ring&quot; cycle by director David Pountney, and on his wish-list for the future is Berlioz&#39;s epic &quot;The Trojans,&quot; never performed at Lyric, as well as the five-act version of Verdi&#39;s &quot;Don Carlos.&quot;</p><p>Overall, Freud is optimistic that Lyric and opera in general will survive, despite rapid changes in viewing and spending habits.</p><p>&quot;What is opera, after all,&quot; he said. &quot;It&#39;s telling stories through words and music. And that&#39;s utterly universal, transcending continents and centuries and cultures.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/freuds-goal-keep-chicagos-lyric-opera-relevant-111263 The many rabbit holes (or should we say labyrinths) of 'Serial' http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/many-rabbit-holes-or-should-we-say-labyrinths-serial-111259 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/sarah-koenig-dana-chivvis-in-studio-photo-credit-elise-bergerson_wide-33a836b6f38a9d110c6b7b1ae46c8cc3961f7369-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>As <a href="http://serialpodcast.org/">Serial</a> winds to an end, those of us behind Code Switch and Monkey See have been talking a whole lot about the podcast. Here&#39;s part four of our exchange. Later today, Sarah Koenig will talk to All Things Considered about the final episode &mdash; available this morning &mdash; and we&#39;ll give you the details on that as well. </em></p><p>Hey, Matt, Gene and Linda &mdash;</p><p>There&#39;s this <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/kristinchirico/this-parody-of-the-serial-podcast-is-so-ridiculously-on-poin">string of Serial parodies</a> that I think I might&#39;ve shared with the three of you at some point in the past few weeks. (Or, you know, you might&#39;ve just found them on your own, because I feel like they were everywhere, hanging around the many corners of the internet.) The parodies are all pretty spot-on, in that they each hit the nail of Sarah Koenig&#39;s tendency to dive down rabbit holes &mdash; very deep tunnels, and with a lot of gusto &mdash; right on the head.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/many-rabbit-holes-or-should-we-say-labyrinths-serial-111259#thirdcoast">Third Coast&#39;s listening guide to fill the Serial-shaped hole in your life</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>In this particular parody, comedian William Stephen who voices Koenig asks, all earnestly: &quot;Where was the pay phone? What&#39;s a Best Buy? What makes its buy the best?&quot; These questions are, of course, goofy, weird and nonsensical, but not too far of a departure from the type of questioning Koenig delivers in each of her episodes as she examines two very serious things: the murder of Hae Min Lee and the subsequent trial of Adnan Syed. (More on that difficult balance in a bit &mdash; as Gene told me earlier today, to get at the nuance in a complicated story like Lee&#39;s murder, you have to jump down various holes, and you have to let yourself get a little obsessed.)</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/stYkaBFpDyc?showinfo=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>The thing about Serial and its endless rabbit holes is that it allows for many different ways to view the podcast. You could consider it, like Linda, to be a true crime show. You could think, like Matt, that in the end Koenig is going to reframe it all as a trial about a trial. Or you could, like Gene, see the many other resonances to what&#39;s going on today.</p><p>At some point, you&#39;ve probably had some questions: <em>Why didn&#39;t Adnan call Hae when she went missing? or What do Hae&#39;s parents think about all this? or What does Jay&#39;s girlfriend &mdash; who refused to talk to Koenig for the podcast &mdash; think or know about this case?</em> (Maybe they&#39;re not rabbit holes; maybe, they&#39;re rabbit labyrinths.) With Serial, Koenig has built a world that her listeners can reference to talk about other things &mdash; Gene&#39;s piece that <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/12/15/370423380/serial-isnt-about-ferguson-but-its-kind-of-about-ferguson">connected Serial to stories like Ferguson</a> is a prime example. So it makes sense that it&#39;s resonated with listeners, that it&#39;s <a href="http://www.avclub.com/features/the-serial-serial/">sparked podcasts</a> <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/slates-serial-spoiler-specials/id935063801?mt=2">about</a> the podcast, that it&#39;s launched <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/serialpodcast">a well-trafficked subreddit</a>.</p><p>All right. All right. So, some of the things I thought about, with varying degrees of depth:</p><p><strong>1. The story is more about Koenig&#39;s process &mdash; and her becoming obsessed with the trial &mdash; than it is about finding a definitive answer about whether Adnad Syed killed Hae Min Lee: </strong>We&#39;re constantly reminded that this podcast contains only fragments of the very real lives it represents.</p><p><strong>2. Koenig&#39;s idea of &quot;casual prejudice&quot;: </strong>In episode 10, &quot;<a href="http://serialpodcast.org/season-one/10/the-best-defense-is-a-good-defense">The Best Defense Is A Good Defense</a>,&quot; Koenig finally addresses issues of race. (How Koenig <a href="http://www.theawl.com/2014/11/serial-and-white-reporter-privilege">has or hasn&#39;t talked</a><a href="http://www.theawl.com/2014/11/serial-and-white-reporter-privilege"> about race</a> has been a <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/12/unpacking-the-social-justice-critique-of-serial/383071/">big point of contention about the podcast</a>.) She plays tape of the prosecutor calling Syed a &quot;Pakistan man&quot; during the bail hearing; the prosecutor was making the argument that Syed&#39;s heritage and religion made him dangerous and a flight risk. She refers to research put together for the detectives working on the case: <em>Report on Islamic Fad and Culture with Emphasis on Pakistan, a Comparative Study relevant to the Upcoming Trial of Adnan Syed.</em></p><p>Also, Koenig says this:</p><blockquote class="edTag"><p>One of Adnan&#39;s teachers for example, &quot;think about what he would have been taught about women and women&#39;s rights.&quot; Another teacher I talked to told me she was terrified at the time that Adnan&#39;s relatives were going to come after her for talking to the detectives. She told me she assumed his parents were evil. On that website that lists all the bodies found in Leakin Park, the author&#39;s commentary about Hae Min Lee&#39;s case is &quot;maybe my prejudice is showing through, but who in their right mind lets their daughter date a man named Adnan Musud Syed?</p></blockquote><p>And yet, Koenig tip-toes around the &quot;r&quot; word &mdash; she refers to the above litany as &quot;casual prejudice.&quot; &quot;You can hear me not believing [...] the notion that the cops and prosecutors in this case were driven by anti-Muslim feeling, by racism, and by racism alone,&quot; she tells her listeners. Was she skirting around the word &quot;racist&quot; because she thought it was too inflammatory, or that it might derail the story? If someone was convicted of murder in part because jurors linked his ethnic background to his motive &mdash; then doesn&#39;t &quot;casual prejudice&quot; seem too flip of a descriptor?</p><p><strong>3. Cristina Gutierrez&#39;s voice and the way people talk about it: </strong>So, remember in that very first episode, when Koenig explains how she happened upon the story? Koenig says that Rabia Chaudry found her because she&#39;d written about Gutierrez &mdash; Syed&#39;s lawyer &mdash; years before.</p><p>She says in that episode:</p><blockquote class="edTag"><p>I&#39;d written about a well-known defense attorney in Baltimore who&#39;d been disbarred for mishandling client money. That attorney was the same person who defended Adnan, her last major trial, in fact. Rabia told me she thought the attorney botched the case &mdash; not just botched it, actually, but threw the case on purpose so she could get more money for the appeal. The lawyer had died a few years later. She&#39;d been sick.</p></blockquote><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XDvPjm10CM0?showinfo=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>As Serial gained traction, Gutierrez has been a focus of fierce debate. Folks have criticized the way Gutierrez handled a witness and how she flubbed on some possibly exculpatory evidence. But many people are zeroing in on how she sounded in Adnan&#39;s defense. In recordings from the trial, her voice and delivery were strained, with drawn out words and a rhythm that was more of an amble than a jog.</p><p><a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/12/04/serial_podcast_episode_10_the_best_defense_is_a_good_defense_recapped_and.html">Listeners have called Gutierrez&#39;s voice &quot;grating</a>.&quot; (&quot;I&#39;m an atheist, but if you can convince me Hell is real and Cristina Gutierrez&#39;s voice is piped in 24/7, you&#39;ll see me in church,&quot; <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/serialpodcast/comments/2o96uo/im_an_atheist_but_if_you_can_convince_me_hell_is/">one redditor said.</a> His comment got nearly 800 upvotes.) But it&#39;s worth remembering how often women&#39;s voices come in for this kind of criticism. Earlier this year, NPR&#39;s Selena Simmons-Duffins made a video about talking while female. It illustrates the point that for so long, women&#39;s <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/24/357584372/video-what-women-get-flak-for-when-they-talk%29">voices have been criticized for being too high</a>, for being too low, for not sounding authoritative, for not sounding adult, or for phrasing sentences so that they sound like uncertain questions. (It&#39;s not clear that men don&#39;t do these things either, but they certainly aren&#39;t criticized in the same capacity.)</p><p><strong>4. The ethics: </strong>Whenever I talk to people about Serial, at some point in the conversation, these sorts of thoughts get raised: This is a podcast about real people, about a real tragedy that devastated real families.</p><p>It&#39;s something that&#39;s easy to forget, until say, someone saying he&#39;s Hae Min Lee&#39;s brother <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/serialpodcast/comments/2mmldf/i_am_haes_brother_do_not_ama">shows up on a reddit thread</a>, writing about how 15 years after the most tragic moment of his life, it&#39;s become a major pop culture obsession.</p><p>A perfect example is Best Buy&#39;s <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/12/11/best_buy_serial_tweet_what_s_wrong_with_brand_jokes_about_a_murder_podcast.html">tweet from last week</a>, in which it joked about the case&#39;s infamous pay phone. &quot;We have everything you need. Unless you need a pay phone. #Serial.&quot; It&#39;s exactly the kind of mistake someone might make when the line between a true story and entertainment is muddied. It&#39;s serialized drama, but it&#39;s not serialized<em> fiction &mdash; </em>and as consumers of this, we&#39;re not passive participants.</p><p><em>&mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/12/18/371293491/the-many-rabbit-holes-or-should-we-say-labyrinths-of-serial" target="_blank">via NPR</a></em></p><p><em>The folks at <a href="http://www.thirdcoastfestival.org/">Third Coast International Audio Festival</a> offer this guide for filling the Serial-shaped hole in your life with more great audio.&nbsp;<a name="thirdcoast"></a></em></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="450" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="//www.thinglink.com/card/602205073581277184" type="text/html" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/many-rabbit-holes-or-should-we-say-labyrinths-serial-111259 Vatican signals new tone on US nuns http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/vatican-signals-new-tone-us-nuns-111243 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP475133071654.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An unprecedented Vatican investigation of U.S. women&#39;s religious orders that alarmed Roman Catholic sisters when the inquiry began years ago ended Tuesday with a report signaling a softer approach under Pope Francis.</p><p>The report praised sisters for their selfless work caring for the poor and promised to value their &quot;feminine genius&quot; more, while gently suggesting ways to serve the church faithfully and survive amid a steep drop in their numbers. There was no direct critique of the nuns, nor any demand for them to change &mdash; only requests that they ensure their ministries remain &quot;in harmony with Catholic teaching.&quot;</p><p>&quot;There is an encouraging and realistic tone in this report,&quot; said Sister Sharon Holland, head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the umbrella organization for most U.S. religious orders. &quot;Challenges are understood, but it is not a document of blame, or of simplistic solutions. One can read the text and feel appreciated and trusted to carry on.&quot;</p><p>The laudatory language contrasted sharply with the atmosphere in which the review started under Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Franc Rode, who in 2008 initiated the nationwide study when he led the Vatican office that oversees religious orders, said there was concern about &quot;a certain secular mentality that has spread in these religious families and, perhaps, also a certain &#39;feminist&#39; spirit.&quot;</p><p>Rode left the post while the review was still under way, and his successors had said they wanted a friendlier relationship with the sisters.</p><p>Still, many nuns remained concerned about the outcome of the investigation under Francis&#39; still-young pontificate. Some nuns had taken legal steps during the inquiry to shield the financial assets of their religious orders in case of a Vatican takeover.</p><p>The report expressed hope that sisters would take &quot;this present moment as an opportunity to transform uncertainty and hesitancy into collaborative trust&quot; with the church hierarchy. Many sisters have complained that their work often went unrecognized by priests and requested improved dialogue with bishops to clarify their role in the church and give them greater voice in decisions, according to the report.</p><p>Before the news conference releasing the report in Rome, leaders for the sisters and the nun who oversaw the review, Mother Mary Clare Millea, attended the pope&#39;s daily Mass in the Vatican hotel where he lives and spoke with him briefly, where he offered his blessing.</p><p>Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, based in Maryland, said in a statement the document signaled &quot;a hope for future dialogue and communion among and between women religious and church leaders.&quot;</p><p>&quot;The report is clearly focused on cooperation. It&#39;s clearly focused on dialogue, which I think is not necessarily what people expected back in 2008 when this issue came up,&quot; said Jana Bennett, a specialist in Catholic theology and ethics at the University of Dayton, Ohio.</p><p>Still, American nuns are dealing with the fallout from a separate investigation from a different Vatican office. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 2012 ordered an overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of U.S. sisters. The doctrine office said the organization strayed from church teaching and promoted &quot;radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.&quot; Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain was appointed to oversee the Leadership Conference, potentially through 2017.</p><p>Holland said she was &quot;working hard and working well&quot; with Sartain and other Vatican-appointed delegates, and the process might end sooner than originally expected.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re moving toward resolution of that,&quot; she said.</p><p>Both investigations prompted an outpouring of support from many rank-and-file American Catholics who viewed the inquiries as a crackdown by the all-male Vatican hierarchy against the underpaid, underappreciated women who do the lion&#39;s share of work running Catholic hospitals, schools and services for the poor.</p><p>Theological conservatives have long complained that after the modernizing reforms of the 1960s Second Vatican Council, women&#39;s religious orders in the U.S. became secular and political while abandoning traditional prayer life and faith.</p><p>The nuns insisted prayer and Christ were central to their work.</p><p>Along with praise, the report offered a sobering assessment of the difficult state of American religious orders. The current number of 50,000 U.S. sisters represents a fraction of the 125,000 in the mid-1960s, although that was an atypical spike in U.S. church history.</p><p>Financial resources to care for sisters are dwindling as they age, and the orders have struggled to attract new members. The report asked the sisters to make sure their training programs reflect church teaching and their members pray and focus on Christ.</p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/vatican-signals-new-tone-us-nuns-111243 Chicago museum lifts lid on Egyptian mummy coffin http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-museum-lifts-lid-egyptian-mummy-coffin-111204 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP479914621551.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Not until the lid was off the wood coffin &mdash; exposing the 2,500-year-old mummified remains of a 14-year-old Egyptian boy &mdash; could J.P. Brown relax.</p><p>The conservator at Chicago&#39;s Field Museum and three other scientists had just employed specially created clamps as a cradle to raise the fragile coffin lid. Wearing blue surgical gloves, they lifted the contraption and delicately walked it to safe spot on a table in a humidity-controlled lab.</p><p>&quot;Sweet!&quot; Brown said after helping set the lid down, before later acknowledging the stress. &quot;Oh yeah, god, I was nervous.&quot;</p><p>The much-planned procedure Friday at the museum, revealing the burial mask and blackened toes of Minirdis, the son of a priest, will allow museum conservators to stabilize the mummy so it can travel in an upcoming exhibit.</p><p>&quot;Mummies: Images of the Afterlife&quot; is expected to premier in September at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, then travel to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in fall 2016.</p><p>The Field Museum has had the mummy since the 1920s, when the institution received it from the Chicago Historical Society. It&#39;s part of the museum&#39;s collection of 30 complete human mummies from Egypt.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s always a risk of damage,&quot; said Brown, who works in a lab filled with plastic-covered examination tables behind a large window that allows schoolchildren to watch him work. &quot;So we like to handle these things as little as possible.&quot;</p><p>Even before opening the coffin, the conservators knew some of what to expect. CT scans, which make X-ray images allowing scientists to see inside, showed the boy&#39;s feet were detached and partially unwrapped with his toes sticking out. His shroud and mask were torn and twisted sideways. Those also will be repaired.</p><p>Pieces of the coffin had previously gone missing, so the mummy had been exposed to the elements before. For that reason, Brown wasn&#39;t worried about the mummy scattering to dust when the lid came off &mdash; a notion familiar to moviegoers.</p><p>&quot;The last bit of &#39;Indiana Jones&#39; and all that &mdash; that&#39;s not going to happen,&quot; he reassured before the lid-raising began.</p><p>Walking around the opened coffin, Brown pointed and explained the significance of a particular marking, the colored resin on linen wrappings and the gilded gold on the mask. If Minirdis had lived, he would have been a priest like his father, Brown said.</p><p>Scientists don&#39;t know why he died so young.</p><p>&quot;The fascinating thing about any mummy is that it&#39;s survived as long as it has,&quot; Brown said. &quot;They&#39;re actually amazingly fragile.&quot;</p><p>This kind of work is always painstaking, with lots of pre-planning and tests to prevent the unexpected, said Molly Gleeson, who works with mummies as project conservator at Penn Museum&#39;s &quot;In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies&quot; exhibition in Philadelphia.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s nothing else like them,&quot; she said, noting that if something goes wrong, &quot;We can&#39;t put things back together exactly the way they were before.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 16:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-museum-lifts-lid-egyptian-mummy-coffin-111204 Reasons for Living 2014 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-12/reasons-living-2014-111177 <p><p>Yes, the time has once again arrived for the most sacred if clichéd of rock-critic tasks: the annual Year-End Best-of Albums list.</p><p>As I note annually, the following is my tally not of the year&rsquo;s most &ldquo;important&rdquo; or &ldquo;successful&rdquo; releases, however you define those terms, but of those I listened to and loved most, which kept me coming back time after time, and which I am most eager to hear again <em>right now&mdash;</em>and to share with you<em>.</em></p><p>So, working in reverse order from bottom to top, here are my Top 40 albums of 2014 (<em>drum roll, please!</em>).</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/40%20Cohen.jpg" style="height: 293px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>40. Leonard Cohen, <em>Popular Problems</em> (Columbia)</strong></p><p>Ranking second only to Bob Dylan as our greatest living songwriter, Leonard Cohen hasn&rsquo;t always gotten it right in the studio, sometimes yielding to pointlessly frilly productions that only detract from that monolithic baritone rasp. Here, at age 80, he keeps things mostly simple, the better to let his wit and wisdom shine. <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/461/#leonardcohen"><em>Stream the review at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/39%20Sharon.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>39. Sharon Van Etten, </strong><em><strong>Are We There </strong></em><strong>(Jagjaguwar)</strong></p><p>The fourth album from New Jersey-bred, Brooklyn-based singer and songwriter Sharon Van Etten is her lushest yet&mdash;in fact, it&rsquo;s almost baroque, with its synth bass, piano, organ, strings, harp, woodwinds, and the occasional backing choirist. Yet, as evidenced by the epic standout &ldquo;Your Love is Killing Me,&rdquo; she only has grown more powerful in charting the struggles of romance and uncertainty. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-05/sharon-van-etten-goes-baroque-110242"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em> or </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/445/#sharonvanetten"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/38%20Lykke.png" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>38. </strong><strong>Lykke Li, <em>I Never Learn </em>(LL Recordings)</strong></p><p>On album number three, 28-year-old Lykke Li Zachrisson straddles a fascinating line between chart-topping pop diva and soul-baring underground darling with a set of gorgeous understated anthems which are anthemic nonetheless. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-05/lykke-li-does-heartbreak-well-110179"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em> or </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/442/#lykkeli"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/37%20Lips.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>37. The Black Lips, <em>Underneath the Rainbow </em>(Vice)</strong></p><p>Capping a chaotic bender that now stretches through 15 years and seven albums, Georgia&rsquo;s bad boys the Black Lips add a bit more focus to the songwriting and up the wattage on the hooks, giving us the most tuneful set (in a <em>Nuggets </em>way) of the out-of-control bender that is their career. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-03/black-lips-hone-their-songcraft-without-getting-slick-109944"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em> or </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/435"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/36%20Bells.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>36. Broken Bells, <em>After the Disco </em>(Columbia)</strong></p><p>The second offering from the stellar collaboration between Shins front man James Mercer and super-producer Brian &ldquo;Dangermouse&rdquo; Burton is a more understated affair than their debut; note that the title confesses that this is music for <em>after </em>the dancing. But that&rsquo;s fine by me, as Mercer never has sounded more soulful, and Burton only gets to revel more in his delightful take on Eno ambience. <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/427"><em>Stream the review on</em> Sound Opinions</a><strong> </strong><em>or </em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/467"><em>listen to the band&rsquo;s interview and live performance.</em></a></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/35%20Lydia.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>35. Lydia Loveless, <em>Somewhere Else </em>(Bloodshot Records)</strong></p><p>What a better world we&rsquo;d live in if America&rsquo;s teenage girls admired this fearless Ohio cow punk instead of Taylor Swift. Lydia Loveless&rsquo; third is simply stunning, with her music and lyrics growing ever more mature without sacrificing an iota of that hell-raising attitude. <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-03/rimshots-powerful-stuff-two-alt-country-hell-raisers-109805"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em>.</em></strong></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/34%20Bob.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>34. Bob Mould, <em>Beauty &amp; Ruin </em>(Merge)</strong></p><p>Defiantly riding the third high of his post-Hüskers career, our curmudgeonly but lovable Uncle Bob continues the melodic adrenaline rush on his 11<sup>th</sup> solo album, once again fronting the powerful but empathetic rhythm section of drummer Jon Wurster and bassist Jason Narducy, and raging valiantly against the dying of the light. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-06/uncle-bob-does-it-again-110375"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em> or </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/448"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/33%20Olivia.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>33. Olivia Jean, <em>Bathtub Love Killings </em>(Third Man Records)</strong></p><p>On her first solo outing, moonlighting Black Belle and Third Man Records session ace Olivia Jean emerges as Lana Del Rey&rsquo;s worst nightmare, with retro-cool chanteuse seduction done right, sacrificing none of the self-empowerment or self-respect. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-11/olivia-jean-lana-del-reys-worst-nightmare-111060"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/32%20Weezer.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>32. Weezer, <em>Everything Will Be Alright in the End </em>(Universal Republic)</strong></p><p>For my money, this is the best Weezer release since <em>The Green Album </em><em>in 2000 because it&rsquo;s the most fun, as well as the best set of smart, well-crafted pop tunes</em>. And nobody muses on the joys of playing in a band and falling in love with music better than Rivers Cuomo. <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/463/#weezer"><em>Stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/31%20Girl.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>31. Got a Girl, </strong><strong><em>I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now</em></strong><strong> (Bulk Recordings)</strong></p><p>This may not be a collaboration with the pop wattage of Broken Bells, but actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead and producer Dan &ldquo;the Automator&rdquo; Nakamura nonetheless surprise and delight with this homage to French café pop and spaceage bachelor pad music. <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/450/#gotagirl"><em>Stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/30%20Graham.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>30. </strong><strong>Edvard Graham Lewis, <em>All Under </em>(Editions Mego)</strong></p><p>The latest creative spurt in the long and intensely rewarding career of English art-punks Wire happily extends to the new solo offerings from bassist, lyricist, and sometimes baritone vocalist Graham Lewis, who describes the stronger of his two 2014 offerings as &ldquo;a song-based album that resides amongst the cracks between narrative and song, sound and music&hellip; [and which] conjures the spirit of Wire&rsquo;s experimental pop trajectory.&rdquo; And he&rsquo;s not exaggerating. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/solo-treats-wires-bassist-110620"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/29%20Eno.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>29. Brian Eno/Karl Hyde, <em>Someday World </em>(Warp)</strong></p><p>Also giving us two discs in 2014 was the iconic super-genius Eno, working in collaboration with electronic musician Karl Hyde of Underworld. This, the first, was the stronger and more pop-oriented effort, with Hyde completing unfinished Eno pieces revolving around Phillip Glass minimalism and enticing afro-beats. <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/450"><em>Stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/28%20Syd.jpg" style="height: 266px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>28. Syd Arthur, <em>Sound Mirror </em>(Harvest)</strong></p><p>Young Brits revive the Canterbury sounds of &rsquo;70s progressive-psychedelic-folk-jazz-rockers such as Soft Machine and Camel, with wispy vocal melodies, twisting rhythms, burbling synthesizers, snaking guitar lines, and soaring violin from Kate Bush&rsquo;s nephew. A geek-out joy. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-09/return-canterbury-110756"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/27%20Vaselines.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>27. The Vaselines, <em>V for Vaselines </em>(Rosary Music)</strong></p><p>The third studio album in 28 years from Scottish cult heroes and Kurt Cobain favorites the Vaselines was well worth the wait, with the trademark snark, linear rhythms, and unforgettable melodies as strong as they&rsquo;ve ever been. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-09/%E2%80%98v-vaselines%E2%80%99-very-very-good-110844"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/26%20Preatures.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>26. The Preatures, <em>Blue Planet Eyes </em>(Harvest)</strong></p><p>Preatures singer Izzi Manfredi&rsquo;s leather-jacketed, self-assured, coolly disaffected update on the classic Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde stance perfectly meshes with percolating rhythms that chart a tuneful course between Motown, New Wave, and modern electronic dance music, all with exquisite production by Jim Eno of Spoon. <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-10/preatures-walking-sunshine-blue-planet-eyes-110949"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em> or </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/470"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/25%20Jack.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>25. Jack White, </strong><em><strong>Lazaretto</strong></em><strong> (Third Man/XL/Columbia)</strong></p><p>If the second album under Jack White&rsquo;s own name isn&rsquo;t quite the surprise of his solo bow, hearing him turn one-page short stories and plays written at age 19 into vital music for the here and now is no less a gritty, soulful, alternately hard-hitting and seductive/lulling joy. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-06/no-surprises-jack-whites-second-solo-album-110314"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em> or </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/446/#jackwhite"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/24%20Rentals.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>24. The Rentals, <em>Lost in Alphaville </em>(Polyvinyl)</strong></p><p>Proving that he&rsquo;s no alternative-era footnote, Matt Sharp returns with his post-Weezer combo to revel in gloriously fat and glitchy Moog drones, a wonderfully endearing and otherworldly future-past melancholy vibe, and a bevy of memorable and infectious hooks.<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-09/remember-rentals-110842"> <em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/23%20Muffs.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>23. The Muffs, </strong><strong><em>Whoop Dee Doo </em></strong><strong>(Burger Records/Cherry Red)</strong></p><p>West Coast garage-popsters the Muffs may not be reinventing the wheel on their sixth album, the first in a decade. So what? As with Joey Ramone and his band of brothers, I never tire of Kim Shattuck and her fellow tuneful hell-raisers delivering the pop-punk goods. Then again, I may just be the weird boy next door immortalized in the opening track. <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/450/#gotagirl"><em>Stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/22%20Angel.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>22. </strong><strong>Angel Olsen, <em>Burn Your Fire for No Witness </em>(Jagjaguwar)</strong></p><p>On her third album, St. Louis-to-Chicago-to-North Carolina transplant Angel Olsen summons not so much Patsy Cline-meets-Leonard Cohen, but rather a more rootsy, less pretentious early Liz Phair. And she simply slays while doing so. <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-03/rimshots-powerful-stuff-two-alt-country-hell-raisers-109805"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a> <strong><em>or</em></strong> <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/447"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/21%20Tuneyards.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>21. tUnE-yArDs, N</strong><em><strong>ikk</strong></em><strong>i N</strong><em><strong>ac</strong></em><strong>k</strong><strong> <strong>(4AD)</strong></strong></p><p>The third afro-pop gem from Merrill Garbus proves that her loopy methodology is no novelty, and the real source of her appeal is that powerhouse voice and an ever more sophisticated and nuanced global feminist perspective. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-05/tune-yards-delivers-its-third-gem-nikki-nack-110135"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a> <strong><em>or </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/441"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/20%20Jewels.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>20. </strong><strong>Run the Jewels, <em>Run the Jewels 2 </em>(Mass Appeal)</strong></p><p>Honing in on age 40, Killer Mike and El-P may be great granddads by hip-hop standards, and they&rsquo;ve always been old-school in their subject matter and sonics. But such silliness only matters to the shallow. Show me a more passionate, angrier, musically undeniable rap release this year, I dare ya (and I&rsquo;ll bet you can&rsquo;t). <em>Listen for an upcoming interview and performance on </em>Sound Opinions<em>.</em></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/19%20Sinead.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>19. Sinead O&rsquo;Connor, <em>I&#39;m Not Bossy, I&#39;m the Boss </em>(Nettwerk Music Group)</strong></p><p>Sinead O&rsquo;Connor may be famously frustrated with the machinery of pop stardom and dealing with plenty of turbulence in her personal life, but her music rarely has suffered, and her voice never has diminished. Here she seems to be having a bonafide blast rocking out once more&mdash;even if it&rsquo;s a bit hard to buy her contention that this is &ldquo;just an album of&nbsp;love songs.&rdquo; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/sinead-o%E2%80%99connor-has-some-fun-her-boss-new-album-110662"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a> <strong><em>or</em></strong> <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/456"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/18%20Carr.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>18. Martin Carr, <em>The Breaks </em>(Tapete Records)</strong></p><p>Proving that he hasn&rsquo;t lost a step in 16 years, Martin Carr, the driving force behind &rsquo;90s Britpoppers the Boo Radleys, returns with an unforgettable set of songs about not fitting in, though that no longer means the systematic derangement of all the senses via psychedelics, but smoking pot before dropping the little ones off at school in the minivan. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-09/rad-return-martin-carr-110812"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em>.</em></strong></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/17%20Ty.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>17. Ty Segall, <em>Manipulator </em>(Drag City)</strong></p><p>Anyone tempted to argue that lo-fi garage-rock hero Ty Segall has at times been too prolific for his own good hasn&rsquo;t heard this concise, supremely focused, and exquisitely well-crafted set of psychedelic-pop/garage-rock gems, the finest single album in his bountiful catalog. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-09/ty-segall-prolific-brilliant-110755"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a> <em>or </em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/360/#tysegall"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/16%20Lucinda.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>16. Lucinda Williams, <em>Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone </em>(Highway 20)</strong></p><p>As much of a songwriting treasure as the aforementioned Leonard Cohen, legendary stonecutter Lucinda Williams gave us the unlikely gift of a sprawling, loose, and endlessly rewarding 100-minutes-plus double album, with more than enough strong moments to last us a decade, if she deigns to take that long before gracing us again. <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/461"><em>Stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/15%20Porn.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>15. The New Pornographers, <em>Brill Bruisers </em>(Matador)</strong></p><p>I&rsquo;ll confess that I&rsquo;d given up on being surprised much less thrilled by this Great White indie-pop supergroup ever again, but its sixth album is the best it&rsquo;s delivered, thanks largely to a return to the sunshine, an amping-up of the pure pop pleasures, and under-heralded heroine <var>Kathryn Calder</var><em>. </em>Plus, &ldquo;Dancehall Domine&rdquo; may be my favorite tune of 2014, second only perhaps to the Meghan Trainor guilty pleasure of &ldquo;All About That Bass.&rdquo; <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/459"><em>Stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/14%20Damon.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>14. Damon Albarn, <em>Everyday Robots </em>(Warner Bros.)</strong></p><p>Like Jack White, it took former Blur and Gorillaz front man Damon Albarn half a lifetime to give us his first solo effort, but when he finally stands naked and alone, he does it wholeheartedly, with some of the most quietly beautiful music of his career coupled with some of the most honest and introspective lyrics. And the title track is one of my favorite testaments ever to the solace and antidote to loneliness that can be found in music. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-04/damon-albarn-bares-his-soul-his-first-solo-album-110057"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em>.</em></strong></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/13%20Freedia.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>13. Big Freedia, <em>Just Be Free</em></strong><strong> (Queen Diva Music)</strong></p><p>Genre- and gender-hopping Freddie Ross/Big Freedia is as undeniable a force of nature as the hurricane that slapped his beloved New Orleans. To call it &ldquo;sissy bounce&rdquo; is to limit its sensual appeal, which to my mind knows no boundaries or limitations. Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law&mdash;so long as thou shall shake thy booty. <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/450/#gotagirl"><em>Stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/12-Tweens.jpg" title="" /></div><p><strong>12. Tweens, <em>TWEENS </em></strong><strong>(Frenchkiss Records)</strong></p><p>The Cincinnati punk group led by Bridget Battle somehow merges girl-group doo-wop and Black Lips-style, no-holds-barred garage punk. And it absolutely takes no prisoners. <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/450/#gotagirl"><em>Stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions<em>.</em></a></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/11%20TVOR.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>11. TV on the Radio, <em>Seeds </em>(Harvest) </strong></p><p>Ending a break many thought would be permanent, Brooklyn-based art-rockers TV on the Radio mine the loss of their bassist for soulful catharis and quiet tunefulness that also extends to the best all-out pop song of their career, the gleeful &ldquo;Happy Idiot,&rdquo; a thinking hipster&rsquo;s answer to Pharrell&rsquo;s &ldquo;Happy.&rdquo; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-11/tv-radio-mines-sorrow-soul-111119"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em>.</em></strong></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/10%20Spoon.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>10. </strong><strong>Spoon, <em>They Want My Soul </em>(Loma Vista)</strong></p><p>How is it that indie-rock&rsquo;s most devoted minimalists only get better and better while rarely adding a new twist or turn to their basic ingredients of driving grooves, melodic drones, and laconic, charmingly alienated vocals? I really can&rsquo;t say, but the undeniable truth is that no group in rock does more with less to get under your skin and inside your head. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-08/spoon-has-soul-spare-110608"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a> <strong><em>or </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/454"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions</a><strong>.</strong></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/9%20Courts.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>9. Parquet Courts, <em>Sunbathing Animal </em>(What&#39;s Your Rupture?)</strong></p><p>Deceptively ambitious slackers Parquet Courts continue their casual brilliance, combining Television and Pavement with a bit more of the former on a set that is more unapologetically art-rock and slightly less focused on song craft, with an epic centerpiece (the 7:13 &ldquo;Instant Disassembly&rdquo;) that&rsquo;s as much of a tour-de-force mission statement as &ldquo;Marquee Moon.&rdquo; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-06/most-ambitious-slackers-you%E2%80%99ll-ever-hear-110409"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em>.</em></strong></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/8%20Kelis.png" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>8. Kelis, <em>Food </em>(Ninja Tunes)</strong></p><p>Proving she has a lot more on her menu than &ldquo;Milkshake,&rdquo; the sixth studio album from Kelis takes us from electronic soup to neo-soul nuts, courtesy of spot-on production by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio. Saucy and sweet, but full of pride and power, and delicious from start to finish. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-04/kelis-cooks-delicious-feast-110081"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a> <strong><em>or </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/454"><em>listen to her interview and performance on</em> Sound Opinions</a><strong><em>.</em></strong></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/7%20Fucked.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>7. F*cked Up, <em>Glass Boys </em>(Matador)</strong></p><p>Lacking any grand concept this time around, the uncompromising, punishing, but ridiculously tuneful Toronto art-punks simply deliver the goods with a set of the best in this &ldquo;hardcore&rdquo; genre since the heyday of Hüsker Dü. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-06/fcked-fckin%E2%80%99-rules-110332"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/6%20Gotobeds.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>6. The Gotobeds, <em>Poor People Are Revolting</em> (12XU)</strong></p><p>Named for the enigmatic drummer in Wire but following in the stoned and starving footsteps of Parquet Courts, Pittsburgh&rsquo;s Gotobeds have less in common with either of those bands than with the sloppy brilliance of <em>Let It Be</em>-era Replacements and the postmodern-pop of early Pavement. And that&rsquo;s a fine, fine thing. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-09/slacker-rock-mudslide-continues-110740"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/5%20Shellac.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>5. Shellac, <em>Dude Incredible </em>(Touch and Go)</strong></p><p>The fifth time around turns out to be the most impressive from Steve Albini since he was at the height of his pummeling powers in Big Black. Together with his storied collaborators, he relies less on predictable, overly clinical math-rock precision and more on storytelling, songcraft, and dare I say melody. No, really! <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-10/back-shellacking-111023"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/4%20Aphex.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>4. Aphex Twin, <em>Syro </em>(Warp Records)</strong></p><p>The question isn&rsquo;t where Richard D. James has been, but why he&rsquo;s chosen to release music again as the Aphex Twin, lo these many years after his groundbreaking &rsquo;90s. I can&rsquo;t answer that, but I can happily report that he still delivers a more varied sonic palette and a more exciting listening experience on one track than many electronic artists who fill arenas now provide in an hours-long set. And he has a better, much more twisted sense of humor to boot. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-10/return-aphex-twin-110978"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/3%20Butcherettes.jpg" style="height: 306px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>3. Le Butcherettes, <em>Cry is for the Flies </em>(Nadie Sound)</strong></p><p>Long though the wait was for her second album, Mexican art-punk Teri &ldquo;Gender Bender&rdquo; Suaréz returned with undiminished ferocity, ready to burn down a long list of offensive targets, from male hegemony to that vile wall between her country and this one. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-04/le-butcherettes-are-back-vengeance-110032"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></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/1%20Hex.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>2. <strong>Ex Hex, <em>Rips </em>(Merge)</strong></strong></p><p>A longtime underground heroine who&rsquo;s never quite gotten her due, even as the guitar-vocal foil to Carrie Brownstein in Wild Flag, bandleader Mary Timony emerged anew fronting a power trio with drummer Laura Harris and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Betsy Wright, recording with &rsquo;80s hero Mitch Easter, and tearing through punky garage-rock that kicks harder than she ever has. The band calls it &ldquo;twelve songs about underdogs, guys stealing your wallet, schoolyard brawls, and getting bent,&rdquo; and it&rsquo;s simply unforgettable and absolutely essential. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-09/mary-timony-cast-spell-me-110849"><em>Read the full review on this blog.</em></a></p><p>&nbsp;</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/2%20Against%20Me.jpg" style="height: 362px; width: 400px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>1. Against Me!, <em>Transgender Dysphoria Blues </em>(Red Distribution)</strong></p><p>Now based in Chicago and led by Laura Jane Grace, anthemic political punks Against Me! deliver a moving, deeply empathetic, and very much needed message to the transgender community, though by no means is the rousing music or the lyrical calls for humane behavior exclusive of anyone, anywhere. This is to say, this album was needed in Ferguson as much as in San Francisco, or indeed on the south and west sides of our Windy City. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-02/against-me-inspiration-everyone-109640"><em>Read the full review on this blog</em></a><strong><em>, </em></strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/428/"><em>stream the discussion at</em> Sound Opinions</a><em>, and listen for an upcoming interview and live performance on the show.</em></p><p><strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/471"><em>Listen to Greg Kot and me each discuss our five favorite albums of 2014 on this week</em></a><strong><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/show/471"><em>&rsquo;s episode of </em>Sound Opinions</a>, <em>always our favorite of the year. And f</em></strong><em>ollow me on Twitter </em></strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</a><strong> or join me on </strong><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340">Facebook</a><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-12/reasons-living-2014-111177 Luxury brands court Chinese students http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/luxury-brands-court-chinese-students-111127 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CHINESE STUDENT1 (lavinia).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On a recent blustery night, stylish Chinese college students lined the aisles of the Bloomingdale&rsquo;s department store in downtown Chicago. They were sipping cucumber cocktails and checking out the latest fashions modeled by and for Chinese students.</p><p>They&rsquo;d been invited by the high-end retailer in an effort to connect with a new generation of U.S. college student from Mainland China.</p><p>&ldquo;The reason they want to reach us is very simple because we are going to buy their product,&rdquo; said party attendee Kim, a marketing major at DePaul University.</p><p>Kim is one of the 274,000 Chinese students attending college in the States. That number has tripled in the last six years, cementing China as the biggest source of international students to the U.S. for several years running.</p><p>But these are not the thrifty Chinese grad students of yesteryear. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Chinese students (who are now about half graduate students and half undergrads) spent $8 billion in the U.S. in 2013 alone.</p><p>&ldquo;These are the elites of the Chinese population,&rdquo; said Peggy Blumenthal, a senior counselor at the Institute for International Education. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re mostly from cities and used to spending for big brands and used to having a new car and a new watch.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The spending power of these students hasn&rsquo;t been lost on U.S. government officials.</p><p>Earlier this month, the state department relaxed rules on visas for Chinese students, expanding them to five years. As Secretary of State John Kerry was handing out the first batch, he told one Kansas University grad returning to the states to remember to &ldquo;spend a lot of money.&rdquo;</p><p>Wen Huang is a Chicago based writer and China watcher who came to Springfield Illinois as a Chinese grad student 24 years ago. And as he recalls it, things were very different then.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I came here with $76 in my pocket, which was the case with lots of Chinese students who came in the 1990s and 80s,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We would shop at Venture. That was like a Walmart place. We never had money to buy name brand stuff but we felt that everything that was made in America was name brand. On weekends we&rsquo;d treat ourselves to Old Country Buffet and then go shopping at Venture.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Most students at that time came on scholarships, but the Chinese undergrads flooding American colleges today are supported largely by family money.</p><p>&ldquo;They are the children of either government officials or the children of entrepreneurs who have amassed a huge fortune during China&rsquo;s economic boom over the last 7 or 8 years,&rdquo; Huang said.</p><p>Others come from middle class families who have channeled much of their resources into the future of their single child.</p><p>Chinese-American college student Solomon Wiener is majoring in East Asian Studies at Dennison University. Although he has traveled to China, he is still amazed by the spending power of this new wave of Chinese students.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />&ldquo;I drive a Lexus but my friend from China drives a Ferrari,&rdquo; he noted before hitting the runway in a sleek gray Hugo Boss suit. &ldquo;There is just a lot of cash coming from China and the kids are just able to afford these brands.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s why Chicago-based publisher John Robinson recently launched a new digital magazine Mandarin Campus in addition to his flagship magazine Mandarin Quarterly. He co-sponsored the Bloomingdale&rsquo;s event.</p><p>&ldquo;Mandarin Campus was born out of brands&rsquo; increasing interest in this lucrative demographic that&rsquo;s the Chinese university student,&rdquo; said Robinson who spent several years in China and speaks fluent Mandarin. &ldquo;The editorial focus is a little younger, a little more rock-and-roll than say Mandarin Quarterly, which is targeting sort of early-to-mid-career professionals.&rdquo;</p><p>The stories in these two magazines focus on business and career advice, fashion, and dining and lifestyle issues. Much of the content would be at home in Chicago magazine, if Chicago were written entirely in Chinese. The magazines are aimed at helping readers fashionably navigate mainstream Chicago (and San Francisco and New York where Quarterly is also published). But, they are also about marketing these high-end brands.</p><p>&ldquo;Brands like Omega, Burberry, Cartier, Tiffany, Bloomingdale&rsquo;s and Saks have all reached out to our business and asked for our support in their efforts to effectively engage Chinese,&rdquo; Robinson said.</p><p>Lavina, a Chinese marketing major at Loyola, served as one of the evening&rsquo;s models, sporting fashions from Theory and Burberry. Like a lot of the students at the party, she lives downtown and shops along the Magnificent Mile.&nbsp;<br />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of clothes I like to wear and the place I like to go shopping is at Bloomingdale&rsquo;s,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a very loyal customer because I live three blocks away, so it&rsquo;s very near and convenient.&rdquo;</p><p>The shifting financial dynamics of China have allowed the surge in enrollment at U.S. universities.&nbsp; But what&rsquo;s behind the new openness to parties and fashion that were never a part of student life for someone like Wen Huang?<br />&ldquo;The current education system is different in mainland China,&rdquo; said DePaul marketing major Caroline. &ldquo;We are more open to the foreign cultures like American and European cultures.&nbsp; We get more and more information about them and so when we came here we learned there are parties and different things we have to attend. We are starting to get used to that environment, and it is making us change.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite the continued double-digit growth in Chinese enrollment last year, Huang predicted it will start tapering off soon.</p><p>He cited the slowing Chinese economy and the recent anti-corruption campaign under Chinese president Xi Jinping that has put the country&rsquo;s rich and powerful under a microscope.</p><p>&ldquo;Right now they are under close scrutiny,&rdquo; Huang said. &ldquo;And sending your children abroad is becoming an easy target for investigation.&rdquo;</p><p>So does that mean Coach, Tiffany, Bloomingdale&rsquo;s and Burberry are wasting their time courting the young Chinese consumer? Huang said no<ldquo;i a="" as="" because="" buy="" buying="" cheaper="" china="" designer="" have="" he="" higher="" in="" lot="" much="" of="" only="" p="" pay="" s="" said.="" see="" still="" students="" t="" than="" the="" they="" thing="" think="" to="" will="" you=""></ldquo;i></p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/luxury-brands-court-chinese-students-111127 Cupich becomes Chicago archbishop, decries abuse http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cupich-becomes-chicago-archbishop-decries-abuse-111123 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP604006552951.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Blase Cupich became the Archbishop of Chicago on Tuesday after his predecessor handed him a bishop&#39;s staff and relinquished the chair that symbolizes the leadership of the nation&#39;s third-largest diocese.</p><p dir="ltr">During a Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, the transfer of power was completed as Cardinal Francis George, who is battling cancer, stepped aside to retire. He&rsquo;s been the spiritual leader of more than 2 million Catholics in Lake and Cook Counties since 1997.</p><p dir="ltr">The installation of Cupich &mdash; who was bishop of the Diocese of Spokane, Wash., when he was selected by Pope Francis to succeed George &mdash; marks the first time in the history of the Chicago archdiocese that a new archbishop assumes leadership while his predecessor is still alive.</p><p dir="ltr">It also represents the pope&#39;s first major American appointment. By replacing a leading conservative cardinal with the more moderate Cupich, Vatican watchers say the decision shows the pope wants more focus on mercy and compassion instead of divisive social issues.</p><p dir="ltr">The cathedral was packed with more than 90 bishops, a half dozen cardinals and hundreds of guests, including Cupich&rsquo;s large extended family and friends from every stage of his career as a priest.</p><p dir="ltr">During his homily Tuesday, Cupich, 65, spoke forcefully on the sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the church, including Chicago&#39;s archdiocese. In one of his last official acts, George released files on three dozen priests who had been accused of sexual abuse in the last 60 years and whose alleged crimes were in many cases concealed by the archdiocese.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Working together to protect children, to bring healing to victim survivors and to rebuild the trust that has been shattered in our communities by our failures is our sacred duty, and so is holding each other accountable, for that is what we pledge to do,&rdquo; Cupich said.</p><p dir="ltr">As he comes to an archdiocese that has shrunk in recent years and been forced to close schools amid declining enrollment, Cupich also spoke of the &quot;formidable task&quot; of passing on the faith to the next generation in a skeptical world. He said the church needs to work to become relevant to young people, who require authenticity in words and deeds.</p><p dir="ltr">Cupich repeatedly called on everyone, including church leaders, to act with mercy, and to be daring in their faith.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Pope Francis tells us that the temptation is to think and say, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m religious enough, I&rsquo;m Catholic enough.&rsquo; Or for the church leaders to resist needed reform by claiming, &lsquo;We haven&rsquo;t done that before&rsquo; or &lsquo;You can&rsquo;t say that&rsquo;.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Cupich voiced his support for Pope Francis&#39; call for leaders in the church to be pastoral in nature. He also emphasized mercy and and reiterated a call to reach out to people rather than lecture them, and to openly communicate with those with whom the church might disagree.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;Jesus invites us, not only to take the risk of leaving our comfort zone, but also to deal with the tension involved in change, not dismissively but in a creative way,&quot; he said. &quot;Pope Francis is giving voice to this invitation in our day ... to leave behind the comfort of going the familiar way.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">There&rsquo;s been some confusion and discord among bishops following the Synod on Family, and several conservative bishops have been openly critical of the pope&rsquo;s leadership.</p><p dir="ltr">Cupich firmly aligned himself with Pope Francis in his closing remarks: &ldquo;He can count on the Archdiocese of Chicago to be fully behind him and with him.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Several spectators had high hopes, saying they had &ldquo;new hope&rdquo; and calling him a &ldquo;breath of fresh air.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He&rsquo;s very devoted to the youth and to poor people,&rdquo; said long-time friend Jim Kineen. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s particularly keen on immigration since his family immigrated from Croatia. He&rsquo;s a very down-to-earth common fellow, and he&rsquo;s got a great attitude. If you notice, he smiles all the time.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Terry Berner, who lives on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, said he hopes Cupich reaches out to gays, women and victims of priest sex abuse.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I hope that he&rsquo;ll open up dialogues with some people that have been kind of turned off lately. I hope he opens a lot of channels, I hope there&rsquo;s a lot of &nbsp;back and forth between not only the Catholics but other denominations &nbsp;and religions in the city because we certainly need it,&rdquo; Berner said.</p><p dir="ltr">The new archbishop has asked for patience as he adjusts to his new role, and emphasized he hopes to keep a sense of normalcy. Cupich tried to dampen down expectations a bit with humor. He joked that he had a &ldquo;bit of a panic attack&rdquo; when he realized his first homily as archbishop followed the gospel about Jesus walking on water.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This new responsibility is going to be demanding, but seriously folks, I don&rsquo;t do walking on water,&rdquo; Cupich said to laughter from the crowd. &ldquo;I can barely swim. So I hope this image in today&rsquo;s gospel is not reflective of anyone&rsquo;s expectations.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Cupich set the transition in motion Monday night in a ceremony steeped in tradition and symbolism. He arrived at the cathedral &mdash; which was filled with hundreds of priests, civic officials and leaders from several faiths &mdash; and knocked on the door three times. Those knocks symbolized his request to be admitted into the cathedral and started a three-day installation process.</p><p dir="ltr">In his Monday homily, Cupich vowed to take an active role in the community, pushing for immigration reform and taking part in the battle against gangs and gun violence, among other issues.</p><p dir="ltr">He is finishing up the three-day celebration Wednesday, leading morning and evening prayers for religious sisters and brothers and lay leaders.</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Claudia Morell contributed to this story.</em></p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/177673495&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/177568268&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 10:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cupich-becomes-chicago-archbishop-decries-abuse-111123