WBEZ | northerly island http://www.wbez.org/tags/northerly-island Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Northerly Island nature preserve opens under shadow of Daley raid http://www.wbez.org/news/northerly-island-nature-preserve-opens-under-shadow-daley-raid-112831 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/northerly-island.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Twelve years ago, then Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, citing security concerns following the 9/11 terror attacks, sent backhoes to carve X&#39;s into the Meigs Field runway on Northerly Island.</p><p>A 40-acre park will open Friday on the southern half of the 91-acre site that in the 1930s hosted the Century of Progress Exposition before it became an airport.</p><p>The city spent $9.7 million to build the park, which features man-made hills, a 5-acre lagoon and a winding bike and pedestrian trail. The cost was covered by $6.3 million in federal funds and $3.4 million from the Chicago Park District.</p><p>Northerly Island is actually a peninsula linked by a land bridge that leads to the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum.</p></p> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/northerly-island-nature-preserve-opens-under-shadow-daley-raid-112831 Furthur at Northerly Island: No Jerry, but not bad http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/furthur-northerly-island-no-jerry-not-bad-101005 <p><p><a href="http://www.thejerrysite.com/">Jerry Garcia</a>, the guitarist/singer/songwriter/reluctant leader of the <a href="http://dead.net/">Grateful Dead </a>and the Deadhead nation, played his last show right here in Chicago, at the &ldquo;pre-spaceship&rdquo; Soldier Field in July of 1995. A month later he was gone.&nbsp; Since Garcia&rsquo;s death, various members of the band have toured together under various names-The Other Ones, Ratdog, Phil &amp;&nbsp; Friends, The Dead, and now <a href="http://www.furthur.net/">Furthur</a>-each trying to capture the sound and energy of the band when &ldquo;Captain Trips&rdquo; was alive.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve attended concerts from several of those iterations over the last 17 years, and each time I&rsquo;ve walked away disappointed. The tempo was too plodding.&nbsp; The riffs were too predictable.&nbsp; The magic simply wasn&rsquo;t there.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Phil%20Lesh%20of%20the%20Grateful%20Dead%20offshoot%20Further%20%28AP%29.jpg" title="Bassist Phil Lesh of Further dancing around a melody. (AP)" /></p><p>Now, let me explain something.&nbsp; The Grateful Dead were plodding and predictable <em>before</em> Jerry died! &nbsp;Even the band&rsquo;s most ardent supporters couldn&rsquo;t possibly argue the fact that heavy drug use, the weight of holding up a huge business juggernaut (the band employed hundreds of people), and the isolation brought on by superstardom had been eating away at Garcia&rsquo;s abilities and attitude for years.&nbsp; The Dead went from having outstanding &nbsp;tours in the 1970&rsquo;s (where it seemed like everything they played for an entire month was fresh and inspired), to great runs in the 80&rsquo;s (perhaps a 2 or 3 night stand at Chicago&rsquo;s Uptown Theater that was pure gold), to solid single performances, to one or two nice-but-fleeting moments within a show.&nbsp;</p><p>But despite the sub-par tunes, and the annoying travelling circus that followed the band (it felt like there were more people there for the party than the music-I voice a similar complaint every time I go to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs) Deadheads like me kept going back for one reason: Jerry.&nbsp; If he had that twinkle in his eye, and the mood and the crowd and the venue and the band came into some kind of cosmic alignment, he was the one who could pull out something transcendent.&nbsp; Something that made you think about yourself or the universe or your place in it in a totally different way.&nbsp; Something life affirming.&nbsp; Something that nobody had heard before and nobody will ever hear again.&nbsp; A dunk from Michael Jordan.&nbsp; A riff from Charlie Parker.&nbsp; A moment of divine inspiration, channeled through a great artist, and he&rsquo;s <em>sharing it </em>with <em>you</em>.</p><p>Which takes us to last night&rsquo;s performance of Furthur at <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;q=charter+one+pavilion&amp;fb=1&amp;gl=us&amp;hq=charter+one+pavilion&amp;cid=0,0,17856248692159125317&amp;ei=bw4HUNqTEYfo0QGX1aTHCA&amp;ved=0CMABEPwSMAA">Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island</a>.&nbsp; Out-of-town friends had descended on Chicago.&nbsp; I&rsquo;d seen dozens of actual Grateful Dead shows with these jokers, and I&rsquo;ve been mocking their enthusiasm for the post-Jerry product for years.&nbsp; While they didn&rsquo;t pull me in kicking and screaming, I did yell &ldquo;I&rsquo;d rather be sitting on my couch in the A/C listening to the real thing!&rdquo; (I probably have 1,000 hours of high-quality bootlegs covering the band&rsquo;s 30+ years) several times. &nbsp;For the 2 hours before the show, I was peppered with plenty of &nbsp;&ldquo;Dude, trust me&rdquo;&#39;s. So I took my suspicions, my past experiences, and my general negativity to the middle of the GA section of Charter One (nice place to see a show).&nbsp; There I folded my arms, glowered at the stage, and dared the musicians to impress me.&nbsp;</p><p>I&rsquo;m here to tell you&hellip;.it didn&rsquo;t suck.&nbsp; As a matter of fact, it was actually...pretty good.&nbsp; Bob Weir&rsquo;s jagged, staccato playing and herky-jerky lyric delivery were perfectly summed up by my friend who said &ldquo;he&rsquo;s the Shatner of Rock &lsquo;n Roll&rdquo;. &nbsp;And even at age 70, Phil Lesh continues to defy the role of the bass player in rock by simultaneously grounding <em>and </em>leading the jams. The double-drummer lineup has been pared down to a (much welcomed) single, solid drummer. A couple of backup singers have wisely been added, and they do a great job of shoring up the vocals.&nbsp;</p><p>The Grateful Dead were at their best when they were acting like a jazz band, with each member listening intently to the others and playing in the service of the whole. It was collective improvisation in the truest sense.&nbsp; But let&rsquo;s not kid ourselves.&nbsp; Garcia was the first among equals, and the guy playing &ldquo;the Jerry role&rdquo; will become the focus of much of the music.&nbsp; That role these days is filled by John Kadlecik (who spent his teens and early twenties in Palatine, Ill.), best known for his work leading Dark Star Orchestra.&nbsp; DSO toured the country for a dozen years re-creating whole Grateful Dead performances (they&rsquo;d pick out a specific night from, say 1968 or 1977 or 1982), virtually note for note.&nbsp; He knows the tunes, the the riffs, and the sweet spots as well as just about anyone. And Kadlecik delivered the goods.&nbsp; From the opening notes of &quot;Here Comes Sunshine&quot; to the thunderous climax of &quot;Morning Dew,&quot; he really has a knack for sounding like Jerry when Jerry sounded like Jerry.&nbsp;</p><p>Like all of the guitarists filling Garcia&#39;s shoes, he might be a little &ldquo;too good&rdquo; for me.&nbsp; He doesn&rsquo;t make mistakes. One of the things that made Garcia so endearing was he liked nothing more than the challenge of painting himself into a musical corner and then figuring out how to extricate himself from said tight spot.&nbsp; Most of the time he escaped, and you&rsquo;d exhale along with him and shout an &ldquo;atta boy!&rdquo;. Sometimes he got stuck in that corner and he/we would use it as a metaphor for life-acknowledge you blew it, have a good laugh, pull up your pants, and move on.&nbsp; In addition to the &ldquo;perfection question&rdquo;, several of the tunes could use a bit more speed.&nbsp; One or two slow-churning boogies are ok over the course of the night. &nbsp;The number was closer to five.&nbsp; But the band put plenty of pep into chestnuts like &quot;Mississippi Half-Step,&quot; &quot;Cassidy,&quot; and &quot;Passenger.&quot;&nbsp; They ended the first set with a fantastic version of the Weir combo &quot;Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance.&quot;</p><p>Unlike past performances I didn&rsquo;t walk away muttering obscenities, swearing that I&rsquo;ll stick to my bootlegs and my memories. &nbsp;If I can use a foodie/restaurant metaphor: they weren&#39;t trying to be <a href="http://www.alinea-restaurant.com/">Alinea</a>. This wasn&#39;t about moving the music in new, unrecognizable directions. This was more like going to The <a href="http://www.originalpancakehouse.com/">Original Pancake House</a> on a Sunday morning. &nbsp;You&#39;re dreaming about your order the minute you wake up, and when the food arrives, you get exactly what was swirling around in your head for the last few hours-good ole&#39; American staples done right, maybe with a little twist. &nbsp;Jerry Garcia was a unique talent and personality that can never be replaced. &nbsp;Period.&nbsp; But for once, instead of focusing on what this band is <em>not</em>, I decided to focus on what it <em>is</em>.&nbsp; And what it is is probably the best darn Grateful Dead cover band that ever existed.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 18 Jul 2012 13:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/furthur-northerly-island-no-jerry-not-bad-101005 New plans for Northerly Island http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/new-plans-northerly-island <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//northerly island prarie.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been almost eight years since Chicago Mayor Richard Daley took matters into his own hands and closed down the lakefront airport Miegs Field. <br />But the 91-acre space known as Northerly Island has remained active, with an open-air concert venue and prairie. <br />&nbsp;</p><p>The area might get a bit busier: Park District officials Thursday unveiled plans to redevelop the land as a public park, complete with a harbor, wetlands, a reef and a lagoon with a sunken ship.<br />&nbsp;</p><p>One of the plan&rsquo;s designer&rsquo;s, architect <a target="_blank" href="http://www.studiogang.net/">Jeanne Gang</a>, says it&rsquo;s almost like a Millennium Park of nature.</p><p>To learn more &quot;Eight Forty-Eight&quot; spoke to an expert, Chicago Tribune architecture critic <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-skylineblog-bio,0,5519775.htmlstory">Blair Kamin</a>. <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/new-plans-northerly-island Plans outline the future of the old Meigs Field http://www.wbez.org/story/daley/plans-outline-future-old-meigs-field <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//northerly island.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Park District will unveil long-term plans for Northerly Island tonight.<br /><br />The park was once the home of Meigs Field. But someday, planners hope it will feature a concert venue with a green roof, wetlands, a chain of reefs and a lagoon for kayaking and canoeing. There may even be a sunken ship for divers to explore.</p><p>&quot;It's tremendous,&quot; said Gia Biagi, the park district's director of planning and development. &quot;It's an incredible 90 acres of lakefront parkland right at the central business district in a major metropolitan city. You can hardly find another grand opportunity like this anywhere in the world.&quot;<br /><br />Biagi says the plan would balance the city's urban skyline with a natural environment for bird watching and contemplation. It would shift from the concert venue and skyline to the north, to areas for birdwatching to the east. It would include several different habitats, such as a beach, the lagoon and forest.</p><p>She says the city will seek out public-private partnerships and grant money.</p><p>The head of the Grant Park Conservancy, Bob O'Neill, said the plan would create a rich educational and natural space. He says it would greatly increase access to the lake. Now, park-goers can reach the water at the beach, but much of Northerly Island has an urban edge. O'Neill said the proposal would soften those edges and better integrate water and land.<br /><br />The plan would be completed in pieces over the next 20 to 30 years as money and partnerships arise. Each project would need approval.</p><p>It took several years to complete this framework of ideas. It was drafted by the landscape architecture firm, JJR, and Studio Gang Architects, the firm that designed the Aqua Tower.</p><p>The public can view it at 6:30 tonight at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 02 Dec 2010 22:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/daley/plans-outline-future-old-meigs-field