West Town Branch library August adult events

By Jason D. Nosek
Chicago History Book Club
Please join on us at the West Town Branch library at 6:30pm Tuesday Aug. 6 at 1625 W. Chicago Ave. for the first meeting of our Chicago History Book Club.

This group will explore the city’s history through reading and discussing books on events, themes, time periods, and personalities that have contributed to making Chicago what it is today. The book we will be discussing this meeting is Never a City So Real by Alex Kotlowitz.

Film Screening – Kings of Pastry
In collaboration with the award-winning documentary series POV, the West Town Branch will be screening Kings of Pastry at 6pm Thursday, Aug. 8.

When Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, award-winning filmmakers of The War Room, Startup.com and Don't Look Back, turn their sights on the competition for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, the country’s Nobel Prize for pastry, you’re in for a treat.

In Kings of Pastry, 16 chefs, including Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School, whip up the most gorgeous, delectable, gravity-defying concoctions and edge-of-your-seat drama as they deliver their spun-sugar desserts to the display table. The inevitable disasters and successes prove both poignant and hilarious.

Film Screening – Patti Smith: Dream of Life
The next film in our ongoing POV series is Patti Smith: Dream of Life, which will be shown at 6pm Thursday, Aug. 22 at the West Town Branch.

Shot over 11 years by renowned fashion photographer Steven Sebring, Patti Smith: Dream of Life is an intimate portrait of the legendary rocker, poet and artist. Following Smith's personal reflections over a decade, the film explores her many art forms and the friends and poets who inspired her: William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Robert Mapplethorpe and Michael Stipe. She emerges as a crucial contemporary link between the Beats, punks and today's music.

Shot in lush, dark tones, featuring rare performance clips and narrated by the artist herself, Patti Smith: Dream of Life is an impressionistic journal of a multifaceted artist that underscores her unique place in American culture, and winner of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary.

Joe Gustaitis presents Chicago's Greatest Year, 1893: The White City and the Birth of a Modern Metropolis
Join neighborhood author Joe Gustaitis as he presents his new book Chicago's Greatest Year, 1893: The White City and the Birth of a Modern Metropolis. This author event will take place at 3pm Saturday, Aug, 24 at the West Town Branch.

In 1893, the 27.5 million visitors to the Chicago world’s fair feasted their eyes on the impressive architecture of the White City, lit at night by thousands of electric lights. In addition to marveling at the revolutionary exhibits, most visitors discovered something else: beyond the fair’s 633 acres lay a modern metropolis that rivaled the world’s greatest cities.

The World's Columbian Exposition marked Chicago’s arrival on the world stage, but even without the splendor of the fair, 1893 would still have been Chicago’s greatest year.

An almost endless list of achievements took place in Chicago in 1893. Chicago’s most important skyscraper was completed in 1893, and Frank Lloyd Wright opened his office in the same year. African American physician and Chicagoan Daniel Hale Williams performed one of the first known open-heart surgeries in 1893. Sears, Roebuck & Co. was incorporated, and William Wrigley invented Juicy Fruit gum that year.

The Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry all started in 1893. The Cubs’ new ballpark opened in this year, and an Austro-Hungarian immigrant began selling hot dogs outside the world’s fair grounds. His wares became the famous Chicago hot dog.

Adult Book Discussion
For the month of August, the Adult Book Discussion Group at the West Town Branch will be reading Zone One by Colson Whitehead. Please join us at 6pm Thursday, Aug. 29 to discuss this work.

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Adventure Stage Saturday: ¡Vive la Guerra!

By Scott Letscher

Adventure Stage has the perfect indoor and outdoor events to keep your family thoroughly entertained. For your indoor enjoyment, Adventure Stage is bringing Guerra: A Clown Play to our theater as a special treat for our audience.
It’s a three performer 55 minute barrage of sketch, mime, pratfalls, paper airplane throwing and gags, gags gags. And lord, is it funny. -NYTheatre.com
Guerra is presented by Mexico City-based theater company La Piara in collaboration with Chicago writer-directors Seth Bockley and Devon de Mayo, and it is at our space at 1012 N. Noble St. for one performance only. This is a great chance to introduce your family to something fresh, unique and totally hilarious. 

For outdoor fun we are extending a special ticket offer: For every ticket you buy to Guerra, you get one free general admission pass to Brookfield Zoo.

So for only $12 to $15 a ticket, you can enjoy a hilarious play and a day of your choosing at the zoo. You can purchase tickets by phone at 773-342-4141 or online by clicking here.  

We all know how fleeting Chicago summers can be. Don't miss your chance to pack in a few more days of family time before the kids head back to school.

Ashland transfer: No bus lane in BRT alternative

Ashland Bus Rapid Transit talk shifts into passing gear at the East Village Association's Aug. 5 meeting.

Two plans for express bus service are seeking EVA members' support. The Chicago Transit Authority hopes to reserve the inner two lanes of Ashland Avenue for new, high-capacity vehicles. Panning and policy specialists from the CTA plan to provide details Aug. 5, in a presentation postponed from July.

The CTA plan would limit BRT stops to every half-mile and remove left-turn lanes. Brenna Conway and Max Muller from the Active Transportation Alliance backed the configuration as July 1 EVA guest speakers. They advocate wide sidewalks and street parking to encourage foot traffic.

A competing plan from the Ashland-Western Coalition would instead revive the X9 Ashland Express bus in existing vehicle lanes. The buses would get traffic signal priority for longer green lights, a feature of the CTA project.

The coalition proposal was presented to the EVA board July 8. Roger Romanelli, executive director of the Randolph / Fulton Market Association, says bus-only lanes will snarl commercial truck traffic. His view is shared by Mike's Furniture at 1259 N. Ashland Ave., which maintains an active loading zone in the northbound parking lane. The coalition is collecting names for a petition against the Ashland placement.

EVA directors have not voted on either the CTA or coalition plan. In recent meetings they've been intrigued by the potential for Blue Line connections at the Polish Triangle and concerned about BRT traffic models and sustained funding.

The Aug. 5 meeting starts at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

Commercial Park EVA party Aug. 3

The East Village Association is joining the Commercial Park Advisory Council Aug. 3 to produce the Ultimate Block Party. EVA's annual barbecue will extend from 2 till 7 pm on the 1800 block of West Rice Street as part of a Commercial Park community event rescheduled from June 15. `

Two bounce houses, a dunk tank and more entertainment are in the works. Bring a side dish to share – grilled meats and drinks will be provided. Last year's EVA summer barbecue followed the block-party format and generated much lively conversation with neighbors and a bit of envy from Chicago Avenue passers-by.

West Town crime: June 2013

West Town crime: June 2013

A man was held on $750,000 bail July 12 after he was charged in a sexual assault on a woman waiting for the Western Avenue bus at Augusta Boulevard. A suspect was shown on surveillance cameras.

A homicide also was among West Town crimes reported last month. A news report said two men on motorcycles shot a 21-year-old in a parked car on the 1100 block of North Campbell Avenue.

The East Village Association analyzed June and year-to-date statistics downloaded from the City of Chicago Data Portal and published on the Tribune Crime in Chicago website, comparing them to 2012.

June Change YTD Change
Violent crime 64 7% 261 -15%
Homicide 1 NA 5 25%
Sexual assault 3 200% 11 10%
Assault 8 0 41 3%
Battery 18 13% 58 -16%
Robbery 34 -3% 146 -21%
Property crime 316 -24% 1,784 -11%
Burglary 43 -46% 348 -1%
Theft 235 -18% 1,155 -15%
Auto theft 36 -25% 276 -3%
Arson 2 0% 5 25%
Quality-of-life crime 112 -24% 555 -35%
Property damageage 78 -31% 398 -27%
Prostitution 0 -100% 5 -29%
Narcotics 34 -37% 152 -50%
Total 492 -22% 2,600 -18%

Grand Avenue development forum Monday

What would you like to see along Grand Avenue? A forum is set for 6pm July 22 in the Goldblatt's building, 1615 W. Chicago Ave.

The forum is organized by the Chicago Grand Neighbors Association and Ald. Proco Joe Moreno. The 1st Ward covers 90% of Grand Avenue between Ogden and Damen avenues, says board member Daniel Laskowski. Specific projects are not at issue, but Laskowski says ward and city representatives will gather ideas and concerns for the future.

Movie night at West Town library

By Jason Nosek

Next Thursday July 25 at 6pm, the West Town Branch library will continue our POV Films series with a screening of the documentary "Ping Pong." This film follows eight players competing in the Over 80 World Table Tennis Championships in China’s Inner Mongolia.

British players Terry, 81, who has been given a week to live, and Les, 91, a weightlifter and poet, are going for the gold. Inge, 89, from Germany, has used table tennis to paddle her way out of dementia. And Texan Lisa, 85, is playing for the first time. Ping Pong is a wonderfully unusual story of hope, regret, friendship, ambition, love— and sheer human tenacity in the face of aging and mortality.

Thank you for supporting your local branch library; we hope to see you soon.

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Eckhart Park opens Shakespeare tour July 28

Samuel Taylor, Tiffany Yvonne Cox and Jürgen Hooper in the Chicago
Shakespeare in the Parks production of The Comedy of Errors.

By Alida Szabo

Building on the success of last summer’s inaugural Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, the expanded 2013 program will bring William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors free for all to neighborhood parks across Chicago. The first stop beyond Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Navy Pier base is a 4pm performance July 28 in Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave.

A specially equipped truck will roll into each park, a stage will unfold and a company of professional actors will share the delight of Shakespeare with families and neighbors of all ages.

Audiences will experience the wildly entertaining tale of a man and his servant landing in a foreign land, searching for their long-lost twin brothers. Everywhere they go, strangers insist that they’re old friends. Mistaken identities abound, but in the end, chaos gives way to clarity in this comedy filled with mayhem and madness.

This popular Shakespeare comedy is adapted and staged by veteran Chicago Shakespeare director David H. Bell. Touring to neighborhoods across the city, the free Shakespeare performances activate neighborhood parks, attracting families, breaking down barriers to arts participation and encouraging young family members to participate in Chicago’s Summer of Learning program.

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks’ The Comedy of Errors plays in 18 neighborhood parks through Aug. 25. Previews are July 26 and 27 in Navy Pier's Gateway Park. Other West Side performances include July 31 in Dvorak Park, Aug. 8 in Humboldt Park, Aug. 11 in Douglas Park, Aug. 16 in Welles Park and Aug. 25 at Garfield Park Conservatory. For a complete schedule, visit chicagoshakes.com/parks.

Visit Chicago community gardens

Chicago has hundreds of community gardens throughout the city, each unique and with their own fascinating stories. This year, you can tour these sites throughout the growing season. NeighborSpace, the land trust that owns our own Frankie Machine Community Garden, and CCCG (Connecting Chicago Community Gardens) is organizing the tours. There's also Music & Master Gardener sessions every Thursday.

Frankie Machine (located at Wood and Haddon Streets) will be open on Sunday, July 28, along with our neighboring gardens on Wood Street. Frankie Machine has 37 individual plots for people who don't have garden space at home. The Garden was established in 1988 by the East Village Association. Greenhouse Garden, located at Wood and Thomas Streets, also offers individual plots and has beautifully planted public areas. In between these gardens is the Farmessori, the Near North Montessori School's garden project.

Please come out and visit us!

1048 N. Honore demolition threatened

By Scott A. Rappe, AIA

A demolition permit application has been filed for 1048 N. Honore St., a modest frame structure located within the boundaries of the East Village Landmark District.

It is not clear why a request for a demolition permit is being entertained at this time. Nonetheless, the issue will be considered at a commission hearing on July 11.

This house has its original wood siding, windows, surrounds, even its front door and transom are intact – amazing for its age. No vinyl here, only 130-year-old, old-growth wood.

Bring your own bag, Chicago!

By Marjorie Isaacson

Is there anyone who doesn’t think we have too many plastic bags around? They’re good for some things, but their drawbacks range from the aesthetic to actually undermining health and safety. As bags are littered through the environment, they clog storm drains and kill wildlife. Because plastic is forever (or for at least 500 to 1,000 years before it degrades into tiny toxic pieces), these petroleum-based materials enter our bodies and disrupt our hormone and endocrine systems. Chicago has an opportunity to reduce this impact, thanks to an ordinance introduced by Ald. Proco Joe Moreno. But it remains to be seen if Mayor Rahm Emanuel will support the public good or business as usual.

Banning plastic bags (or more commonly, taxing them so people who use them pay a little for the problems they cause) is not a new idea. Places that have placed restrictions on plastic bag distribution have reported these efforts are a great success. In Ireland, where a bag tax was established in 2002, the legislation has been called the most popular tax ever levied. Even China has found ways to deal with the glut of plastic shopping bags, their ban has been in place for five years.

Block party at Commercial Park

East Village Association board neeting minutes for June 17, 2013
Submitted by Meghan Quinn

Upcoming Speakers Peter Locke suggested we approach businesses we would like to see in our neighborhood to speak at a membership meeting. We could ask questions as to what it would take to bring them to the neighborhood, perhaps a second location of their business.

Eckhart Park is having Shakespeare in the Park. A coordinator will come speak at the July membership meeting.

A Bus Rapid Transit representative will hopefully speak at the July membership meeting about the Ashland BRT plans. Neal McKnight will follow up.

EVA Block Party
Since the Commercial Park block party was cancelled due to weather, the suggestion was made to team up and schedule our block party to coincide with the rescheduled Commercial Park party and have one larger party. Peter Locke will coordinate, more info to come.

Backyards rebate, Tuesdays at the Triangle

East Village Association membership meeting minutes, June 3, 2013
Submitted by Meghan Quinn

Sustainable Backyards Rebate Program
The director from Center for Neighborhood Technology was unable to attend the meeting this evening, so EVA President Neal McKnight presented details about the City of Chicago & CNT’s Sustainable Backyards Rebate Program. The program is funded by the Chicago Department of Transportation and implemented by CNT.

You can receive rebates of up to 50% toward the purchase of compost bins, rain barrels, trees and native plants. For more info, to submit online, or to print out forms to mail in, go to http://sustainablebackyards.org

On another tree note, the city Department of Forestry has been treating ash trees on a rotating cycle of every 3 years. The new tag color denoting a treated tree is red. Call 311 if you notice a tree with an old tag that needs to be treated.