Congrats to Jeanne Gang! The Chicago starchitect was awarded the MacArthur genius grant Tuesday. That’s a half-a-mil prize, y’all! She’s well deserving of all accolades, but I do wonder why she was awarded this particular grant. I mean, I always thought it was reserved for outstanding artists and scientists who had little commercial means of support. Maybe my observation is dead wrong, but that’s what I thought MacArthur was about. If you play saxophone or direct avant-garde theater, you probably aren’t going to make a million dollars. Giving it to Gang is like letting NBA players play on the Olympic team. Congrats to her. We have all sorts of Gang-related material today - including an interview on Eight Forty-Eight, a post by Lee Bey and some archival tape from when Jeanne Gang was on Bazer’s The Interview Show.
In other news, I just got a weird piece of mail telling me that Aqua still had units available. Jeez, you think the building had a heads up this was coming down?
The bigger story is that podcaster and underfunded public radio producer Jad Abumrad (Radiolab) also won the grant. Kudos to our public radio brethren! Also, Ira Glass weighs in. He said that Jad and Radiolab aren’t treated as geniuses by WNYC management, like we do at WBEZ. At least, that’s what I think he’s trying to say. It’s a dig at WNYC (sort of), wondering why WNYC doesn’t like Radiolab more. He’s right about WBEZ, but for all the success and adoration Ira has earned, he still is just a sliver of the overall station output.
And finally, my colleague Robin Amer did a feature on people scaling Aqua (Jeanne Gang’s famous building).
B story: Charles Percy died this weekend. The former Illinois Senator was 91 years old. They discussed his legacy on Eight Forty-Eight yesterday. I never got to know Percy, since he was out of elected office before I started paying close attention to IL politics (If you want memories of Alan Dixon, I’m your man).
But the death of Charles Percy has me thinking about local politics today. And it made me wonder aloud: Where is Mark Kirk? I miss him. Remember when he was in the papers all the time? Or causing a stir for misremembering? Man, this city/state just ain’t the same when Kirk is quiet. C’mon Senator, make some news, will ya?
C story: DeRogatis is back on the case with a great story about how Grant Park is STILL CLOSED after Lollapalooza. Are you kidding me? It’s September 20th. Lolla was August 6th? DeRo wonders why the city isn’t fining Lolla for rental of the park? Sure, they are paying for the repairs, but shouldn’t they be paying rent too?
D story: Late last week Metra floated the idea of a $30-40 increase for monthly rides. Wow, that’s an expensive ride. Then again, maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe we should compare it to other big city Metra-like trains? Are we more or less? I did a quick comparison and a one-hour trip to Long Island (from Midtown) is about $300 a month. Comparing that to a trip from downtown Chicago to let’s say, Arlington Heights is about $120. So yeah, maybe it is time for an increase.
E story: Claire Zulkey has a hilariously simple breakdown of her fake fall issue of Zulkey.com. Table of contents, ads, ads, ads, ads, ads…
Weather/Traffic: Sarah Jindra is back on the WBEZ airwaves. She was reassigned for some TV work for the last couple days. But she’s back. We missed you Jindra!
Sports: This week will be a little less intense, but it is still Bears/Packers. And unfortunately, the return to the scene of the NFC Championship game where the Bears depressed Chicago. We will be doing it without Right Tackle Gabe Carimi, who is out for a month with a dislocated kneecap (OUCH). So here we go again - with all the injuries, we are pretty much the exact same team as last year. We did win the division, but it would nice to have improved. Your offense for Sunday looks like: Cutler, Forte, Knox, Hester, random TE. Defense: Peppers, Melton, Idonije, Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman.
Oh, and the Blackhawks are back. Their new prized free agent acquisition got into his first fight! Um, well, his first fight against his own teammate. Wow.
Kicker: Our old friend Steve Dolinsky launched a new food site yesterday. Check it out. This is his effort to limit the FB and text requests he gets asking about where the best Italian restaurant is. It’s a good site and we are happy to see Steve back on the internet!