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Ed Burke

Ald. Ed Burke, 14th Ward, at a Sept. 18, 2019, City Council meeting in Chicago.

Manuel Martinez/WBEZ

The Rundown: Will former Ald. Ed Burke go to prison?

Plus, Buddy Guy will perform during NASCAR’s racing weekend. Here’s what you need to know today.

Good afternoon! “The Exorcist” director William Friedkin will be honored with a street named after him near his former high school on the North Side. Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Prosecutors say Ed Burke deserves a 10-year sentence for corruption. His lawyers are swamping the judge with letters in hopes of avoiding prison time.
The former alderman, who was the city’s longest-serving City Council member and turned 80 last December, is two weeks away from his June 24 sentencing hearing.

A 10-year sentence would amount to one of the harshest public corruption sentences handed down at the city’s federal courthouse in the last decade, my colleagues Jon Seidel and Mariah Woelfel report.

Burke’s lawyers have asked the judge to give their client no prison time because of his age and service to the city.

Faith leaders, current and former government officials, and members of the legal and law enforcement communities have written letters supporting Burke. Former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, former Illinois first lady Jayne Carr Thompson and the Rev. Michael Pfleger are among those who wrote to the judge.

Prosecutors say Burke “abused and exploited his office by pursuing his own personal and financial interests over a course of years.”[Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ]

2. Mayor Brandon Johnson casts doubt on a permanent Bally’s casino in River West

Johnson isn’t so sure the gaming company will open its River West entertainment complex as planned in September 2026, my colleague Fran Spielman reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I wish I could say something definitive today,” the mayor told the Sun-Times’s Editorial Board. “I know our team is working with ownership to figure it out like we figured out some of the other things that I’ve inherited. It just has to make absolute sense. ... I think that one’s still to be determined, to be perfectly frank with you.”

Bally’s faces an $800 million construction funding gap and a buyout offer from its largest shareholder.

Wall Street ratings firms Moody’s and Fitch have downgraded Bally’s credit since March, with S&P Global highlighting “development and execution risks” for the company as it aims to break ground on its permanent casino at 777 W. Chicago Ave.

And the company still hasn’t figured out where it’s putting a massive hotel tower on the site after discovering the location in their original plan would damage city water pipes. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. A CTA bus crashed into the recently renovated Ramova Theatre

The bus was part of an 11-vehicle crash outside the Bridgeport venue Monday morning that left five people hospitalized, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The venue is co-owned by music superstars Quincy Jones, Jennifer Hudson and Chance the Rapper.

The bus driver was among those hurt. One staff member was inside the theater at the time of the crash, Emily Nevius, co-owner of the Ramova, told the Sun-Times. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. Lula Cafe won in the James Beard Awards’ Outstanding Hospitality category

Chef/owner Jason Hammel’s establishment was the only Chicago restaurant to win during last night’s awards, Miriam Di Nunzio reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Often called “the Oscars of the culinary world,” the James Beard Awards are considered among the highest accolades in the industry.

“Hospitality is a team award,” Hammel said during his acceptance speech. “The hard work of emotional labor is not about how we treat guests, necessarily, but about how we treat each other. ... We truly believe at Lula that hospitality is love with conditions, and we believe the conditions can be fair, just and kind.”

Other Chicago restaurants that were nominated but didn’t win last night include Indienne and Esmé in the best chefs Great Lakes regional category and Anna Posey of Elske for outstanding pastry chef or baker. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Buddy Guy will bring ‘that Chicago sound’ to NASCAR’s racing weekend

If you missed Buddy Guy’s Blues Festival closing-night set over the weekend — or if you were there (and thousands were) and you’re hoping to catch the blues icon one more time on a stage near you — you’re in luck, Miriam Di Nunzio writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Guy will be among the music lineup for NASCAR Chicago on July 6, event organizers announced this morning.

“Last year’s Chicago Street Race was a great opportunity to put Chicago center-stage and I’m excited to join the lineup,” Guy said in a statement. “The Blues is like gumbo. I can tell you how good it is, but you won’t know until you taste it for yourself. I’m looking forward to the chance to introduce more fans to that Chicago feel, Chicago flavor, and most importantly — that Chicago sound.”

The Black Keys, The Chainsmokers and a 40th Anniversary Chicago House Music showcase are also on NASCAR’s Saturday schedule. Keith Urban and Lauren Alaina are set to perform Sunday, July 7. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Hunter Biden was convicted of all three felony charges in his gun trial. [AP]
  • Malawi’s vice president and nine others were confirmed dead after a plane crash. [AP]
  • Apple announced new AI features and a partnership with OpenAI. [NPR]
  • Joey Chestnut, the 16-time champ of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, has been banned from this year’s event. [ESPN]

Oh, and one more thing …

The new film Ghostlight features a real-life Chicago family of actors, but the city’s theater scene is the star, my colleague Mike Davis writes for WBEZ.

When co-directors Kelly O’Sullivan and Alex Thompson were thinking of whom to cast in their new project, they started close to home — with longtime Chicago theater actor Keith Kupferer. O’Sullivan, who also wrote the movie, is a former theater actor in Chicago herself.

Ghostlight, which was picked up for theatrical distribution by IFC Films, will have its Chicago premiere on Friday at the Music Box Theater in Lake View before opening nationally next week.

A family dramedy that centers around a traumatic event, the movie — which tackles complex discussions of mental health — portrays theater as a tool that is healing, cathartic and a way to build community. Theater art is positioned as therapy, and a community theater becomes the home for healing. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

What movies and TV shows are you looking forward to watching this summer?

Elizabeth writes:

“I just watched and loved Julio Torres’s movie Problemista starring Julio Torres and Tilda Swinton. It was clever, intense, fantastical, and so unique! I’m looking forward to watching his new series on hbo max Fantasmas.”

Feel free to email me, and your response may be included in the newsletter this week.

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